Monday, August 25, 2014

First/Last-Street Pigeons

"Emerging from the mystic fog of the great Allegheny united by Bob Sacamano and the U.S. Postal Service."

Street Pigeons are a five piece rock band from Pittsburgh. They are playing Brillobox this Thursday the 28th on a bill with fellow locals Paddy The Wanderer and The River Daughters from Turkey. My thanks to Dave Saccomanno (Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals), Drew Turak (Keys/Vocals) and Marty McElroy (Guitar) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Dave Saccomanno: Dylan’s “Greatest Hits Vol. 2”.
Drew Turak: Either The Allman Brothers “Greatest Hits” or Nirvana “Unplugged”.
Marty McElroy: The Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” and Jimi Hendrix “Are you Experienced?”.

Your last album bought?
Dave: The Band “Music from Big Pink”.
Drew: Tool “10,000 Days”.
Marty: Jack White “Lazaretto”.

Favorite album of all time?
Dave: Led Zeppelin “1 through 4”.
Drew: Tool “Aenima”.
Marty: I can’t pick one rock album so I’m just going with Wu Tang “Forever”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
All: We got nothing!

First concert attended?
Dave: James Brown.
Drew: Probably some random band in the 90’s at Graffiti.
Marty: Offspring at the Civic Arena, but technically Michael Jackson ‘Bad Tour’ when I was about 5.

Last concert?
All: Jack White.

Favorite concert ever?
Dave: Paul McCartney.
Drew: Local band Midnite Snake under the Bloomfield Bridge outside.
Marty: Is it cheating to say Bonnaroo? If so, I’ll go with Tool at Bonnaroo…Tom Morello came out and did an improvised solo in the middle of the song ‘Lateralus’.

Least favorite concert?
Dave: Three Dog Night.
Drew: My girlfriend and her friends dragged me to see Bush. I swear.
Marty: Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys at Star Lake… it got cancelled!

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Drew: Well I grew up here in Lawrenceville all my life. So all of my family, and good and bad experiences are in Pittsburgh. It’s great to see all the changes and embrace them. It’s amazing to see the vibrant music seen that has expanded in the last couple of years. I would not live anywhere else, but I don't know any better.
Marty: The intersection of yinzer and hipster… a great catalyst for weird experiences.

Thanks, fellas. Jack White, huh? Well they do say that the band that sees shows together, stay together. Well, not really.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First/Last-Chancellor Warhol

"Antonio Dewayne Boleyjack was born in Nashville, TN. He grew up drawn to art, cinema, fashion and a diverse culture all of which helped shape his very own style of music today. Channeling an alternative/electro rap style, Warhol released his first solo album titled Japanese Lunchbox in 2010 (Voted Best Rap Album of 2010 by the Nashville Scene). He has gone on to release two more well received projects, The Silver Factory (2011) and the Playlist for Edie mixtape (2012). His unconventional sound has earned him a place on stages such as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, and Sundance Film Festival. Warhol has also supported several artists including Questlove, Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Chance The Rapper, and Yelawolf. His music has been played on major networks such as ESPN, HBO, MTV, VH1, and the E! network. With a strong command of his own art, Chancellor Warhol continues to redefine not only music but culture as well."

Chancellor Warhol comes to Pittsburgh (at The Warhol Museum, no less) this upcoming Saturday the 23rd to debut a unique one time visual interpretation of his latest release, "Paris is Burning". I want to thank him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Two actually. Jay-Z “Reasonable Doubt” and OutKast “ATLiens”. I bought them both at the same time.

Your last album bought?
I just bought the new FKA twigs album. Super vibey.

Favorite album of all time?
Hip Hop: Dr. Dre :The Chronic”, 2001.
Other: Daft Punk “Discovery”.
Both of these records changed me for the better musically.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
That's a long list.

First concert attended?

Last concert?

Favorite concert ever?
M.I.A. She shuts it down!

Least favorite concert?
The Neighborhood.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Never been, but I'm looking forward to creating some in the Steel City.

Thanks, Chancellor. How cool is it that you are actually debuting the performance at The Warhol? Should be a really great night.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


"Autumn of 2013 saw the band begin work on their second album, Chorus, with lauded engineer Gary Olson (whose body of work includes records by Crystal Stilts, Mad Scene and The Beets) at his Marlborough Farms studio in Brooklyn, NY. As a beautiful autumn turned into one of the harshest winters in recent memory, Olson and the band began stretching out, enhancing the album with studio techniques dating back to the late 60s including true-tape flanging, sending vocals through Leslie speaker cabinets, and the same analog style of automatic double-tracking created at Abbey Road Studios. The result is an album that is as immediate as it is timeless, full of effortlessly catchy and well-crafted tunes that echo pop legends like Smiths and Orange Juice. All of that time in the studio has resulted in a rich, considered sound that puts the band's arranging and playing front and center. Chorus is one of the most exciting pop records in years, and marks Literature at true contenders."

Literature is a jangle pop band out of Philadelphia who's latest album, "Chorus" drops today via Slumberland Records. I want to thank Seth Whaland (Bass) for taking a few to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Aerosmith “Big Ones”, duh.

Your last album bought?
Got that new Wild Honey EP, “Seventeen Forever” and have listened to it over & over & over.

Favorite album of all time?
Leonard Cohen “Death of a Ladies Man”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Aerosmith “Big Ones” upon listening to it now.

First concert attended?
I think it was Peter Paul & Mary with my family and I don't really remember it. As a teenager I think I saw Ted Leo and Atom & His Package anytime they played within 100 miles of the Lehigh Valley, PA.

Last concert?
I know different members of Literature are going to different shows tonight as I write this. I personally am going to see Spenking and Viking Moses in South Philly.

Favorite concert ever?
The NYC & Baltimore Popfests were extremely fun to play because of how many excellent bands we got to see, and the crowds were so much fun. I know it is probably lame to mention our own shows. But I couldn't possibly pick out a single show I've attended that is clearly the best.

Least favorite concert?
Once I won tickets to see Robyn Hitchcock but I didn't find out I'd won until the day after the show, which was a huge disappointment. So while I'm sure that was an excellent show, it is my least favorite because I missed it.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Yes! We know some great people that either currently live in Pittsburgh or are from there. Plus it is cool all the sports teams share the same colors.

Thanks, Seth. Totally loving this record. It's got a throwback sound similar to the Paisley Underground I loved in the early 80's.

Monday, August 18, 2014

First/Last-The Spectres

"Pittsburgh transplants James Thompson and Dan Spagnolo formed their very own brand of distorted, stripped down, 2-piece gunk punk garage music in February of 2014. Influenced by 60s garage rock, 50s rock'n'roll, girl groups, as well as modern garage and punk acts, they arrive at a concentrated amalgamation of rock energy, typically delivered in two minute doses. Come witness their extraterrestrial prowess before they phone home back to the Andromeda galaxy."

The Spectres are a Pittsburgh garage rock duo and perform at the 31st Street Pub Tuesday night on a bill with Bob Log III and Weird Paul. I want to thank Dan Spagnolo (Guitar/Vocals) and James Thompson (Guitar/Vocals/Percussion) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Dan Spagnolo: Pretty sure it was Smash Mouth's “Astro Lounge”, on cassette.
James Thompson: It was the "Streets of Fire" soundtrack. It would not be until much later that I would make the connection that The Blasters are on that album.

Your last album bought?
Dan: “Gross Pointe” s/t out now on Dumpster Tapes. Check it out!
James: Something Billy Childish I believe. I think it was a Thee Mighty Caesars album.

Favorite album of all time?
Dan: Either “Dorkrockcorkrod” by the Ergs! or “Napalm Dream” by Tenement. And “Leave Home” by the Ramones.
James: Impossible, the ones I can't live without are: “Ramones” (s/t) / “Flat Duo Jets” (s/t) / Jesus and Mary Chain “Psychocandy” / The Cramps “Bad Music for Bad People”. I don't know, there are lots of others. Picking a favorite is like chopping off a limb.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Dan: Green Day's “American Idiot”. There are some good songs on there but everything after that is unlistenable.
James: The newest Black Keys was so bad I gave that shit away.

First concert attended?
Dan: Some church show in Long Island that my friend's ska band was playing with a bunch of deathcore acts when I was 13.
James: Nine Pound Hammer, or maybe the Devil Dogs.

Last concert?
Dan: Radioactivity and Bad Sports, with Activations (who are a great local act!).
James: I don't know I don't go to many "concerts", usually just shows. It might have been Austin Lucas doing a house show.

Favorite concert ever?
Dan: The Ergs!/Bomb the Music Industry/Cheeky/Lemuria/Bridge and Tunnel/the Dopamines at the Tap Bar (Knitting Factory, 2008). It was the most amped up crowd I've ever been a part of.
James: Definitely The French Licks/The Neanderthals/The Kaisers at Second Story in Bloomington IN. It was a Get Hip showcase with The French Licks as the local act.

Least favorite concert?
Dan: I saw Bad Brains in Philly, 2012. They just all looked so bored, especially H.R. It was fun seeing GZA open, though.
James: The Cramps in Indianapolis. It was like they were just going through the motions. I saw them in Cincinnati and it was a way different show.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Dan: I've lived in Pittsburgh for less than a year. I really like it here! It's kinda hard to make friends outside of work/school but everyone I have met is really nice.
James: I like the history of Pittsburgh. Love seeing the different neighborhoods and talking to the people that have been around to get the histories.

Thanks, fellas. Should be a sweet gig tomorrow.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Image of the Day-R.A.N.T. 2014

HughShows with the 'King of Lawrenceville' Slim Forsythe. The only way to start 'R.A.N.T'.- ing!

I really had no idea of what to expect for the 3rd Annual Rock All Night Tour Festival (lovingly referred to as R.A.N.T.) in Lawrenceville. I wanted to have a lot of fun and I certainly did so. This was my first opportunity of having said fun and I could not help but to go all out.
Simply put, I love Pittsburgh music. There was so much going on that I figured I am going to have to miss most of it but I did try my damndest to catch what I could.
The most amazing thing about walking up and down Butler Street was running into more than a few people who were so nice in saying hello and giving me the greatest of compliments in stating they actually knew who I was and appreciated what I do. Wow? That is what I will remember from this year. "Hey, man! You're Hugh!" That was beyond special and will ever be the benchmark of what I consider as having a blast. Thanks so much to all who were kind enough to do so.
Then there were the bands. My plan was to start with the "King of Lawrenceville" himself Slim Forsythe at Nied's Hotel. Talk about the coolest guy ever? Thank you, Slim. A shot and a beer at Noon down at Nied's is off my bucket list.
After that it was hazy for the next 12 hours. Literally. I managed to shoot over 30 bands. Kinda crazy.
I really thought I was done after Moldies and Monsters at around 5pm but ran into some friends who gave me a beer and a foodie recommendation then I was off. I missed many bands I was trying to catch but saw a couple that are new faves. That is what it was all about for me... there was so much going on, I knew I would have to find a discovery or two. It was a positive, not too overcrowded celebration of neighborhood and music.

I would like a few things for next year.

I would love to curate a venue. Row House Cinema at the top of the list, so BADASS! I'll project my high school Super 8 movies from 1985 behind the bands I ask to play. If Row House ain't available I'm at Andy Johanson's! The two coolest venues on that street, man. That is what is happening down on Butler!

I would LOVE to see more buskers. I saw two the entire night? Bands should be playing out in the street before and after every set. That is what is going to make this and Deutschtown work. Hey, you play at 11pm but you are here chillin' at 3pm? Nah bro, get your gear out and play all day! C'mon! I want to see Mac Miller strumming his 'Bright Eyes' stuff out there. You want to make a music scene? Then make it.

I spent nearly a third of my day waiting for sound guys and waiting for soundchecks and waiting for this and that. Listen. I have four bands play Eide's every month. They go on at the top of the hour and 15 minutes to change around. It hasn't wavered give or take 5 minutes the eight times we have done it so far. Call my man Jay Vega at The Wilderness Recording Studio if you need help. I know, I have no idea what I'm talking about but I was watching tons of incessant 'tuning' last night. I could have caught 40 bands.

Finally, Mary Jo, Zombo, Chet, Jackie, et al. Amazingly beautiful thing you got going! Cannot wait for Year Four.

several conclusions at Nied's Hotel
Mark Cyler & The Lost Coins at Nied's Hotel
Jackals of Botswana at Stinky's
The Way of Life at Arsenal Park
Unknown String Band at Arsenal Park
Donna O at New Amsterdam
Grey's Fool at New Amsterdam
Molly Alphabet at Arsenal Park
Moldies & Monsters at Arsenal Park
Paul Labrise at Hambone's
Jess Joseph at Hambone's
Shawn MacIntyre at Hambone's
Jeremy Caywood at Hambone's
Eric George at Hambone's
Mike Yanchak at New Amsterdam
BARONS at Roundabout Brewery
QuaziWazi at Blackberry Studios
Sleep Experiments at Cattivo
Union Rye at Kickback Pinball Cafe
Sikes at Andy Johanson Photography Studio
Wreck Loose at Arsenal Lanes
The Seams at Eclipse Lounge
BOON at Thunderbird Cafe
Dumplings at Row House Cinema
Pow Wow at Andy Johanson Photography Studio
The Silver Thread at Double D's
Paddy the Wanderer at Thunderbird Cafe
The Lopez at Row House Cinema
The Cynics at Andy Johanson Photography Studio
Jayke Orvis at Kickback Pinball Cafe
The Neffs at Arsenal Lanes
Jess Joseph at Arsenal Lanes
Black Rapp Madusa at 720 Records
Murder For Girls at Cattivo
Grand Piano at Cattivo