Friday, March 13, 2009

Pittsburgh still has good rock

Playing right now: Wynton Marsalis - He and She (Blue Note)
(That's right. I'm making a list of new releases that come to me so that when I'm trying to figure out what to listen, I'll put one of them on instead of reaching for... oh, you know something I've listened to a million times.This was at the top of the list. It's not too bad, so far.)

Last night I went to Howler's and saw three really amazing local bands. Even though I was beat by the time it was over (hell, I was nodding off in front of this computer right before I left), I felt really pumped by the music and excited that I was finally seeing new goings-on in the local scene.

I got there about halfway through Central Plains' set. It was pretty straight forward guitar-based stuff, with good drumming kicking it along. Plus, the last song of the set had a really great harmonized double-guitar riff. And one song had a really unexpected chord change in the chorus. I've been meaning to see those guys for a while because a friend from work is their bass player. Next time I'll catch a whole set.

The version of Lohio that played with my old band Mystery Date (aka the Mofones minus Sharon "Mama" Spell on that given night) was a work-in-progress trio, but the version I saw last night had a completely revamped lineup and a stronger attack. Great songs, good arrangements, cool keyboard fills, another song with unexpected chord shifts. Damn.

A few months ago I saw the Harlan Twins and got blown away, but I had to leave because I was pretty much falling asleep while on my feet. That night they sounded like a high energy indie rock band with a Rhodes. Last night, there was a little more of a boogie element going on, but it added to what was already pretty solid. James Hart has the hard rock intonation down during his guitar solos. Plus there was that pedal steel that he played. The other guitar player - whose name I didn't get - sang some great songs that were a nice break between James'. (He's another fellow team member, which is why I know his name.) A lot of their songs were epics, in terms of length and dynamics. I hope they record soon, or release something.


Did a phone interview with Rudresh Mahanthappa today for JazzTimes. The kid should have been down for his nap, but he was awake and ornery so I bought some time with an avacado and a sippy bottle of milk. He ate the former and spilled the latter all over the place.

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