Monday, December 15, 2014

HughShows Secret Santapalooza


This Friday, me and a bunch of my friends are throwing the most exciting holiday party Pittsburgh has ever seen. The best indie bands in town playing unique sets where they share the stage with each other and perform cover tunes from other local bands. We will be unveiling a special limited edition Wild Kindness brew from Rock Bottom and brewmaster Brandon McCarthy and all proceeds from the night go to Pittsburgh music legend Karl Hendricks.  This show is not to be missed. There are very few tickets remaining so get yours now.

https://hughshows.bandcamp.com/merch/will-call-tickets-a-very-hughshows-christmas-special

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First/Last-The Commonheart


"Formed to invoke emotion through tone and energy, The Commonheart is a band configured of up and coming artists from the Pittsburgh area."

Clinton Clegg is a singer-songwriter from Pittsburgh who's new project a musical collective entitled The Commonheart. As we await new music from Clinton & Co., you can get a taste of what he's brewing this Saturday at the HughShows Live @ Eide's Finale around Noon as Clinton takes to the 3rd Floor Stage. I want to thank him for playing and for participating in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
My sister bought me my first two albums at the same time and they were “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre and “Dookie” by Green Day. But, the first album I ever purchased was “Guerillas in the Mist” by De Lench Mob (still listen to all three).


Your last album bought?
Well Spotify has ruined me for buying albums, but the last album I bought was the ‘Feed Me’ single by local favorites Wreck Loose.


Favorite album of all time?
Notorious B.I.G. “Ready to Die”.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Snoop Lion “Reincarnated”.


First concert attended?
Live.


Last concert?
John Boutte.


Favorite concert ever?
Al Green opened for B.B. King at Music Fest in Bethlehem, PA… yeah.


Least favorite concert?
O.A.R.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Since moving into the city limits after college with my wife, I have embraced city living more than I thought I would. I love the way the music scene is growing right in front of my eyes it seems like. But, to answer your question… my favorite experience hands down is being at the Pirates Wild Card game in 2013. Magical stuff.

Thanks, Clinton. This is going to be a great day for Pittsburgh music and i am thrilled you will be a part of it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First/Last-Misaligned Mind


"Misaligned Mind is the passionate, Post Modern Renaissance Rock Spaceship band centered around the ground-breaking guitar and creative talents of Zack Wiesinger. Already notorious around the globe, Zack has garnered national and international attention while single-handedly opening the show for Guitar Legend Steve Vai on his 2006-07 Sound Theories Tour spanning Europe and the U.S. The West Mifflin native had his coming out party at the 2006 IBC in Memphis while taking the coveted "Albert King Award" for most promising guitarist. Not to mention his jaw-dropping performance at the Guitar Center King of The Blues finals in Los Angeles; which had YouTube buzzing for months. After learning the ropes of the music business in LA, Zack returned home to Pittsburgh to regroup and find new inspiration. It was there in the Steel City that he crossed paths with an old friend/musician Jarrod Tracey who was fresh back from several years in Atlanta, GA. Jarrod was looking to get serious in music and upon learning that Zack needed a band, he jumped at the opportunity. Together they found a writing chemistry neither had experienced with any other players in their travels. The last piece to the puzzle was St. Jamie Bernard. Although an extremely talented moto-cross bad ass, Jamie was slugging away on his drums by night in his basement, as if his life had some other purpose yet to reveal itself. And Misaligned Mind was born...."


Misaligned Mind is a Pittsburgh based buzz band that was the undisputed hit of this year's R.A.N.T. Of course I missed them but I (and you) will have a chance to remedy that this Saturday as Jarrod Tracey (Bass) and Zack Wiesinger (Guitar) perform acoustic duo style at the very last HughShows Live @ Eide's gig around 12:15pm. This is a very special day of music you will not want to miss so come early to catch these guys. I sincerely want to thank Zack for taking the time to play and to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
A Beatles record - not sure which one.

Your last album bought?
Wiz Khalifa “Black Hollywood”.

Favorite album of all time?
“Les Paul Now”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
“Baja Marimba Band”.

First concert attended?
Can't remember.

Last concert?
Jack White Solo Band.

Favorite concert ever?
Queens of the Stone Age.

Least favorite concert?
Jack White Solo Concert (enjoyed Dead Weather and Raconteurs much more).

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Walking in the snow at night in Pittsburgh is magical.

Thanks, Zack. Can't wait for Saturday. Thanks so much again for agreeing to play.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First/Last-The Neffs


"The Neffs began in the basement of Jake and Gordy’s parents’ house in Pittsburgh after a long journey around the world with their family as Air Force kids. The two are brothers and have been playing music together for about 5 years. Jake was in various bands in high school playing bass and guitar as well as composing tons of what would later become Neffs songs. Gordy picked up saxophone in high school and went on to study formally in college while teaching himself how to play drums and guitar. The two met good friend and bassist Chris when they used to play with the (now defunct, RIP) Pittsburgh-based band “The Beauregards”, whom Chris was playing bass for, and recruited him as their full time bassist around the fall of 2012. They have been very involved in the Pittsburgh underground scene and have played with established artists such as Wild Nothing, Celestial Shore, Ava Luna, and Rah Rah."

The Neffs are a Pittsburgh based alternative rock band that just released their debut record, "Roam". Catch them live on 88.3 FM WRCT this Sunday (12/7) at 1pm as I thank Chris Trepagnier (Bass), Jake Ward (Guitar/Vocals) and Gordy Brash (Drums/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Chris Trepagnier: "Back for the First Time" Ludacris.
Jake Ward: The Offspring "Americana" on CD.
Gordy Brash: "Fungus Amongus" Incubus.


Your last album bought?
Chris: "Lazaretto" Jack White and "Warpaint" Warpaint, both on vinyl.
Jake: Joanna Newsom "Have One On Me" and David Bowie "Space Oddity", both on vinyl.
Gord: I bought the Minus the Bear "Planet of Ice" RSD reissue on vinyl.


Favorite album of all time?
Chris: "Mother's Milk" Red Hot Chili Peppers will always be my favorite and the last few years I haven't stopped listening to "Exquisite Corspe" by Warpaint.
Jake: Up until I was about 19 I always said my favorite album was Incubus "Make Yourself", then I couldn't have a favorite album anymore, and still don't. There's just too much phenomenal music out there. How could I compare Neil Young's "Live at Massey Hall 1971" to Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin On?", or The White Stripes "De Stijl" to Bjork's "Homogenic", or The Beatles "Revolver" to Sufjan Stevens "The Age of Adz" (to name a few)? I can't, and I won't!
Gord: I don't really have a sole favorite album, there are far too many to list. But some of my go-to album's include anything by Deerhoof, Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orca", Bjork's "Vespertine", Radiohead's "In Rainbows", Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" or Neil Young's "On The Beach". I've also really been into this album "Electric Balloon" by Ava Luna. We just played with those guys, and I can't get it off my speakers.


First concert attended?
Chris: Lil Romeo at House of Blues New Orleans.
Jake: Incubus at The Budokan in Tokyo, March 2004.
Gord: My dad took me to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Tokyo when I was about 11. I really wish I could have appreciated it more... I remember being very bored and feeling a tiny bit sick to my stomach so we left halfway through. Then the first concert I willingly went to on my own with my friend Sean was Reel Big Fish in like 2006. Goodness.


Last concert?
Chris: The Apache Relay and Good Thing.
Jake: This Town Needs Guns at Garfield Artworks.
Gord: Roulette Waves/Dream Phone/Sink Tapes at Gooskis.


Favorite concert ever?
Chris: Queens of the Stone Age last year were amazing and everything about Bonnaroo 14. Jack White in front of 70,000 people… incredible.
Jake: I feel like I've said "that's the greatest show I've ever seen!" so many times, and I certainly wouldn't complain if it keeps happening. Outside of Bonnaroo in general, it's probably a tie between Sufjan Stevens in the pouring rain during Celebrate Brooklyn in summer 2011, Grizzly Bear with about 100 people in a gym at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA in April 2010 when I hadn't ever heard them before, and The Dead Weather's first show at 9:30 Club in DC with Gord. The energy at all of those shows was freakin spiritual man.
Gord: After 4 Bonnaroos and tons of incredible shows, this is a really tough one. It's a 3 way tie between The Dead Weather's first show ever at 9:30 Club in DC that I went to with Jake, Bjork at Bonnaroo 2013, or Deerhoof at The Andy Warhol Museum last year.


Least favorite concert?
Chris: Lucero last year. Some interesting fans to say the least, haha.
Jake: I was the most pumped to see TV on the Radio at Merriweather during their annual summer fest in 2011. The sound was absolutely terrible, this blaring high end guitar that smothered everything… those guys are incredible musicians, so I was pretty bummed.
Gord: Bob Dylan came to my college a couple years ago. I expected him to be pretty rough, I know his career has taken quite a toll on his voice and such. It was more disappointing than I expected though... he was wearing a tracksuit, didn't pick up the guitar once, and his new material is really rough.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Chris: It's funny because none of us were actually born here and I'm the only one who was raised around here but we love calling this city our home and it just keeps growing and growing on us. I love random nights walking around Bloomfield running into friends or finding that new chill spot in south side to get cheap food and beers before practice. This place keeps getting better.
Jake: When our family first moved to Pittsburgh in 2007, every time I checked the tour schedules of musicians I wanted to see they would skip Pittsburgh on the way from DC, Philly, or New York to Cleveland or Detroit. Now when I check tour schedules Pittsburgh is included most of the time. It's awesome to be here to witness Pittsburgh coming up in the world in all kinds of ways.
Gord: Pittsburgh is awesome. It's really grown on me. I've finally lived here for long enough that I can call it home. There is a ton of culture and diversity here, the city is very livable, the people are cool, and the music scene is on the rise. I love how everything is really accessible, and there is a place for everyone to fit into the puzzle somehow.

Thanks, guys. Damn, you dudes have been to some cool shows. If Bonnaroo was around in the Eighties, I would have definitely been to a few.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

First/Last-Hard Money


"Hard Money is a rock band from Pittsburgh, PA. They play upbeat, mildly euphoric psychedelic pop music appropriate for most settings and environments."

Hard Money is a new discovery for me. This is original Pittsburgh music and I could not be happier listening to their latest release, "Bananas, Apples and Oranges". Get a better test of the band live at Howlers this Saturday (12/6) as they share the stage with Erie's This American Song and seemingly everywhere blog faves City Steps! I want tot thank Michael Baltzer (Guitar/Vocals) for tking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
How about: 1st 7-Inch: "Your Wildest Dreams" by The Moody Blues. 1986, age 8.
1st Cassette: “Fear of a Black Planet” by Public Enemy. 1990, age 12.


Your last album bought?
How about: Most recent iTunes: “Record Collection” by Mark Ronson and The Business Intl. 11/17/2014, age 36.
Most recent vinyl: “Ultravox!” by Ultravox!, “Station to Station” by David Bowie, “True Stories” by Talking Heads, “801 Live” by 801 Live (Eno and company), “Pretzel Logic” by Steely Dan, “People are People” by Depeche Mode. 11/29/2014, Age 36.


Favorite album of all time?
Can I narrow it down to 5 albums that at this moment represent my all-time favorites, and might vary if you'd have asked me 5,10, 20 ago, or next week? Yeah? Well, here you go:
“Fear of Music” by Talking Heads, “Alien Lanes” by Guided by Voices, “Heaven or Las Vegas” by Cocteau Twins, “69 Love Songs” by The Magnetic Fields, “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution. You could swap one of those with “Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)” by Brian Eno if wanted to.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Seeking out music that I like and actively keeping myself out of situations where I'd have to hear things that I don't want to means that I'm not exposed to too much that I consider to be bad. The only albums that really disappoint me are the projects that I started with other bands that split before we were finished.


First concert attended?
I'll get to the point: my grandfather is a nice guy, and when I was in 6th grade (and my sister was in 4th grade), in 1989 or 1990, he bought a bunch of the grandkids tickets to whatever godforsaken New Kids on the Block tour was happening then. When I found out that this was happening, I told my mom that I sure as heck wanted no parts of it. But, she pointed out that it was really nice of him to have done this, and it would be rude not to go. So I went. It was what it was.
In terms of local, lesser-beaten-path shows, the first one that I remember going to was for the industrial band Venus in Furs at some joint in North Oakland that was called Charlie's at the time ('94 or '95). Since that place is closed now, it shouldn't get anyone in trouble to say that I was maybe 3 or 4 years too young to be there.


Last concert?
I've been busy recently, so the last concert that I was at was one that we played on 11/14 with Love Letters and Colonel Eagleburger's Highstepping Goodtimes Band. It was the greatest!


Favorite concert ever?
The show that made me decide that I get up on stage like any of the other jackasses that I found myself surrounded by The Human Brains and The Viragos at the Next Decade in North Oakland in early '99, right after I turned 21. If you are not familiar with either of those groups, let me know and I'll send you some straight fire! Anyway, both bands played heavy grooves through beaten old amps, but lacked any harshness in the vocals, so the mood was super giddy and positive. At the end of the Brains set, a lady (who would go on to run one of the greater art facilities in PGH before going on to run something crazier and bigger in Europe) decided that the best way to begin courting the bassist was to toss a full beer cup at his chest. Immediately thereafter, the entire room was awash in beer being thrown from every direction. There was Iron City dripping from every light fixture, and exploding in sheets from atop the drummer's snare.


Least favorite concert?
Sometime in the early 00's I was dating a young lady that worked at Camelot (or one of those sort of stores), and she got free tickets to some sort of cross-genre festival being held in a massive warehouse space that was briefly open in the Strip or lower Larryville. Again, like NKOTB, I went to be nice. The Black Eyed Peas performed, among other bands whose names escape me. It wasn't a great time.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
It is getting late, so I have to cut this short. Suffice to say, Pittsburgh is the best place that I can be. I was born here, I'll probably die here, unless it's while I'm on vacation. The music situation here is as weird as you need it to be. There's something for everyone, and anyone that wants to contribute to the cacophony may do so at their discretion. You won't be spoon-fed your culture, but if you put forth a little effort, you will find something and it will be amazing.
I'm not sure at what point something in my head clicked, and I stopped thinking that I was a special enough snowflake to someday play music for lots of people in faraway places, and instead only be concerned with impressing myself and the people that are nice enough to play with me.
When I play here, I know that there will not be a lot of people in the audience. That's OK. I can be assured that every one of those people that show up are friends, or friends-of-friends, and will be good to talk to.

Thanks, Michael. I always appreciate the frequent NKOTB mentions on the First/Lasts. It is almost always under the 'disappointment' answers. So great.