Today marks the announcement of both the Allegheny County Parks concert series and the Three Rivers Arts Festival concerts. The TRAF concerts have been trickling out all morning on WYEP; big names include Glen Hansard (Wed., June 12); Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Fri., June 7), and bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley (Sat., June 8).
On the County Parks docket, the biggest names include: Bob Mould (of Husker Du) June 9, Langhorne Slim and the Law June 23, and Rickie Lee Jones August 25, all at Hartwood Acres; and The Wailers June 21, David Cassidy July 12, and Los Amigos Invisibles August 9, all at South Park.
The annual Hometown Music Fest takes place at South Park this year, on Fri., August 30; the lineup is: JD Eicher, Caleb Lovely, and Danielle Barbe.
I'll post a link to the full lineups when they're up!
Three years have passed since Fleetwood Mac’s last tour, but their performance at Consol Energy Center last night proved their on-stage spark is hardly exhausted. For about two and a half hours, the band sent the crowd on a nostalgic journey through their back catalog with many of their greatest hits, as well as a long lost demo and a new track from their upcoming EP. While the band as a whole put on a great show, the musical chemistry between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks could not be ignored.
“Second Hand News” opened up the show, presenting Buckingham’s awe-inspiring fingerpicking skills almost immediately. As soon as the last chord sounded, Mick Fleetwood, seated atop an impressively large drum kit, rattled his shimmering chimes and broke into “The Chain.” John McVie’s dark, ominous bass solo hypnotized the squealing audience. Both songs set the tone for the evening: the Mac is back.
After “Dreams,” Buckingham took to the mic to discuss Fleetwood Mac’s return to the road.
“Every time we go apart and come back together, it’s different,” he said. “There are some chapters left to write for Fleetwood Mac.”
With that, the band performed “Sad Angel,” a new song from their next release. Much like many other Fleetwood Mac favorites, the song was upbeat with Buckingham’s fingerpicking driving the song.
Most of the set list seemed to focus on Buckingham’s talent as a guitarist, especially during his solo acoustic performance of “Big Love,” during which he thrashed and smacked his strings. Nicks’ vocals and theatrics also took center stage, specifically during “Rhiannon” and “Sara.” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again,” both performed acoustically by the duo, drew even more attention to them, as though the rest of the band hardly existed.
Buckingham gave a brief speech about a business axiom before tearing into two songs from Tusk. He explained the phrase, “If it works, run it into the ground and move on,” reminds him of that album, which shocked Warner Brothers quite a bit.
“It was not what they ever expected and most probably not what they wanted.”
“Not That Funny” allowed Buckingham to get more aggressive with his vocals, while he turned “Tusk” into a chaotic, barbaric chant. He crept up to the microphone like a jungle cat, building the song with increasingly louder coyote-like yelps. Fleetwood’s drum solo further established the savage manner of the song.
In addition to playing old favorites, Nicks and Buckingham performed a song they had recorded as a demo in the 1970s and lost somewhere along the way of their rise to fame.
“It was before we were even doing drugs. We were sober, and we still lost it!” Nicks said.
The song, entitled “Without You,” was a ballad written by Nicks about Buckingham. They rediscovered it on YouTube recently and have been performing it throughout their tour. Fleetwood moved off of his platform and in between Nicks and Buckingham, making the song seem even more intimate, as though the trio were reliving a moment from the start of their career together.
“Gypsy” and “Eyes of the World” had the crowd singing, while Nicks’ performance of “Gold Dust Woman” turned into a haunting, theatrical performance. She writhed around in a gold outfit, like the melting Wicked Witch of the West. Buckingham countered Nicks’ dramatics with his evocative rendition of “I’m So Afraid.” He thrashed and smacked his guitar strings like a man gone mad, creeping across the stage with a slow skip.
“Stand Back” and “Go Your Own Way” livened up the audience after Nicks and Buckingham’s bizarre performances. “World Turning” included an appropriately over-the-top solo from Fleetwood, with him screaming “Are you still with me?” in between his flurried drum rolls.
The band left the stage, only to return with a rousing performance of “Don’t Stop.” Brett Tuggle’s piano solo stole the show. The band left and returned to the stage once more for a poignant performance of “Silver Spring.”
As the band bid the audience farewell one last time, Nicks showed her gratitude for their fans, dubbing them “the dream catchers.”
“This whole thing is all your fault. You did it,” Nicks said as she thanked the crowd for their support over the years.
Fleetwood, donning a red top hat, red shoes, and knickers, gleefully trotted to the microphone to also show his graciousness.
“We are glad to be back doing what we love to do,” he said.
And with a tip of his hat, the ringleader exclaimed a prophetic message.
“Remember…the Mac is back!”
Hazelwood native Chevy Woods has been touring the world with Wiz Khalifa and their Taylor Gang conglomerate. This Friday, April 26, Pittsburgh can catch him live in concert as he returns home for an all ages show at Club Zoo. Also performing will be fellow Taylor Gang rapper Quay Meanz and Rostrum Records' latest signee Boaz.
Woods has been active in recent months, featuring on songs by up-n-coming Pittsburgh rap acts Hardo and Crystal Seth. Following up on his Gangland mixtape from June 2012, Woods is preparing for the release of Gangland 2, which will be hosted by popular street rap personality DJ Drama. Woods has already released several music videos from this upcoming project, the latest, "M'fer," features Wiz Khalifa.
One of my personal favorite songs of Woods' is set to be released on Gangland 2 as well. "Things Change" finds Woods reflecting on his humble beginnings to his current success as an artist in the music business.
Fri., April 26th
Club Zoo & Taylor Gang Present CHEVY WOODS: Welcome Home Show
Special guests: Boaz, Quay Meanz, and DJ GQ
All Ages | Doors at 9pm | $10-15.
Tickets here 412-720-1396
On Thursday, April 18, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA visited Pittsburgh as part of his Wisdom of the Word Tour. The speaking engagement was held at the New Hazlett Theater, presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, and hosted by local poet and National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes. Interviewing RZA, Hayes guided a conversation that ranged from the hip-hop artist, author, and film director’s childhood to current philosophies.
It was through these excursions around New York City that RZA discovered hip-hop, which evolved into a route for him to travel the world with his partners in the Wu-Tang Clan.
“The travelling mind I would recommend for any artist,” he said. “Since those days, I was able to have success in music and travel around the world and go to different places — whether it’s Albania, the pyramids of Egypt, the coliseum or the remains of Athens. I’m travelling and I’m seeing life, and it’s really expanding my creativity.”
Although he encouraged the audience of hundreds to explore beyond their usual environment, he also acknowledged the potential gift that can grow within a smaller living space — comparing his time living on Staten Island in New York to the position of local Pittsburghers.
“What’s the benefit of being stuck on an island — or in you guys’ case a peninsula,” RZA asked. “The benefit of it is that you get to nurture something that nobody else has. Sometimes these islands and peninsulas do give you a chance to develop something great and unique, and when that develops and goes out to the world it really inspires the world.”
At times throughout the discussion, RZA read parables from his currently available book The Tao of Wu. As a follow-up to his 2005 book release, The Wu-Tang Manual, RZA talked about how the books differed. While the Wu-Tang Manual digs deep into the origins of the Wu-Tang Clan, The Tao of Wu exudes stories more reflective of the day-to-day life that RZA has led — with both the remarkable career highlights and negative decisions that have molded him into the man he is today.
“If you’re going somewhere in Pittsburgh, and you wanna go down to Kirkpatrick Street on Centre, you’ll find your way there. But if you’ve got a map, it’s an easier ride. And so, my book … it’s sort of a map. Because some of the things I’ve gone through, you will go through … just by being an American, you’ll come across some of these things. And maybe there’s a way to make it better for you, or just to give you a pre-warning or to let you know that you’re not the first one to go here.”
RZA expalined that he strives to give us a living example of someone who has gone through these things.
“Who is the hero of my life? It has to be me,” he said. “In the book you’ll hear me talk about all of the different people that helped me, or all of the different philosophies we come across, and we take some of these things as fact and we take some things and dismiss them as fiction. It’s each a learning part building you.”
Happy Monday everyone! Plenty went down this weekend, from Lupe Fiasco playing at CMU's Carnival to Pissed Jeans rocking 6119 Penn Avenue, to the Penguins coming through against the Bruins.
Another big happening this weekend was the release of local hip-hop duo's The Wave's album Seven Days. They've got a laid back style that is nicely suited to this time of year, and their track "Feelin' Famous" makes for great cruising music. Stream or download it below.
To download, right click here and select "Save Link As."
This week in CP:
—The Joy Formidable finds its sound on its new album Wolf's Law
The Joy Formidable- This Ladder is Ours
—Critics' Picks including Dinner and a Suit, Generationals, Betty Lavette and Lovely Little Girls
Dinner and a Suit
Generationals- Put a Light On
Lovely Little Girls- Undulate
Here's a new cool thing: The Andy Warhol Museum, which hosts plenty of up-and-coming acts and well-respected musicians alike as part of its Sound Series, is now offering what it calls the Silver Studio Sessions: video performances by Sound Series artists, available on its website.
Here's a sample, from The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merrit's session:
Check the whole series — with songs by Dean & Britta and Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nadia Sirota — out here.
This week in CP:
RZA and The Black Keys — Baddest Man Alive
Iceage — Coalition
—Reviews of new albums from Jasiri X and Pointillists.
Jasiri X ft. Brother Ali — The Pillars
The Pointillists — Masonry and Other Lost Arts
—Critics' Picks featuring Last Good Tooth, Baby Dee and Little Annie, and Joey Bada$$!
Last Good Tooth — Long Journey
Baby Dee and Little Annie — State of Grace
Joey Bada$$ — Waves
Hundreds of pinball enthusiasts have converged upon Pittsburgh to test their mettle in the Pinburgh 2013 Match Play Championship, held by the Professional & Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA) from April 11-14. With a prize package of $60,000 and a portion of proceeds going to charity, the championship is among the premier events of the pinball community. Although the 400 person tournament is currently waitlisted, Pinburgh is open to the public. Per the event site, spectators “are welcome to browse and play the 200+ non-tournament pinball machines (2 tokens per play), meet other players, and watch the tournament.”
Pinburgh attracts players of all stripes and skill levels. Among those players is musician Dave Hartley, of Philadelphia. Hartley is probably best known as bassist in The War on Drugs, but he is also the mastermind of Nightlands, whose dreamy, experimental sophomore effort, Oak Island, could mellow even the most nerve-wracking silver ball session. Hartley's Pinburgh pilgrimage is proof that the path to high-score glory holds a special allure, even to those already living the Rock n’ Roll lifestyle. In this interview Hartley talks about the roots of his love of pinball, the makings of an interesting table, and the aesthetic pleasure that can be found in stepping up to a pinball machine.
Jasiri X couldn’t have come up with a better title to describe his new album, Ascension. While at the core the album remains consistent with the path that he’s taken to this point, calling out and taking action against corruption in politics and society, Jasiri mixes in some of the raw elements of hip-hop that have influenced his rap career. On “42 Bar Thesis,” you’ll find him lyrically attacking fraudulent rappers, while on “Warrior,” he reflects on his rise in the ranks of hip-hop. The album features fellow conscious rappers Brother Ali and Rhymefest. We spoke with him about the new record.
This being your most anticipated release to date, and you having been on tour pretty much since its release, what has the response been?
I’ve been getting a great response, nothing but love. We did a show with Ab-Soul and Dead Prez and got a tremendous amount of love. I’ve been in the Bay Area, actually, since the 29th [of March]. I’ve spoken at middle schools, high schools, colleges, panels, performances. So, yeah it’s been love.
One of my favorite joints on the new album is “Intro (He Shot Satan).” The concept of the song and the way you end it on the lyric saying “I hope they write my history like ‘remember he shot Satan’” is super dope. Can you take me through the thought process and writing process when you came up with that song?
It was the last song that I wrote for the project. It was really, like, me coming up saying this project is finally here. And that’s why [in the song] I say “what does it mean when you see a thing in a dream and bring it into existence, see it through to fruition.” It was more so, like, me just talking about and taking you through my feelings in terms of the type of artist I am. You know, in the hood it’s like, you tell stories about people like ‘Yo, you remember when so-and-so, like, knocked out homeboy,’ you know what I mean. So, that was me saying that I hope they write my history like ‘Yo, remember he shot Satan?’ More so, like, remember I was somebody that’s coming with something contrary to a normal industry thing. I hope to be remembered as somebody that was kind of on the side of good and right, and not for, like, what’s currently being packaged and sold as the culture of hip-hop.
Your song “42 Bar Thesis” opens with comments about you being in the studio with a lot of legends and flying over seas. Who have you been working with and what’s the feeling been as you’ve began touring various parts of the world?
Brother J, Wise Intelligent, I did a song with Arrested Development that hasn’t come out yet. Chuck D is somebody that’s embraced me and mentored me. It’s like, "wow." I’m building and doing songs with these guys, like M-1 of Dead Prez, Brother Ali. It’s like seeing yourself at one moment on the local level struggling to get known and then next thing you know I’m hanging with Talib, and Lupe, and hanging with M-1 and Dead Prez. And then it’s like, "Oh yeah, that’s Jasiri, that’s one of the new dudes on the scene that we’ve passed the baton to."
In the first verse of that song I say ‘My life’s a whirlwind/picture in the paper, I read it on the plane to Berlin.’ When I was flying to Berlin, Germany - I did a week out there, I was part of a conference and also did some shows — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had done a story on, like, me, Wiz, Mac, Formula 412, and I think maybe Boaz. They had all of our pictures kind of together with articles about us. And literally I bought that paper the day that I was flying to Berlin. So that’s when I’m like, "Yo, watchu gon’ tell me now?! You know what I mean." (laughs)
I’m in the paper and I’m getting on the plane to go to Berlin, Germany. Right when I came back is when I left my job and began to do it full-time. So now I’m like, yo, feeling like a rap star with my name on the shirt, that’s how I felt at that moment.
You’ve been involved with hip-hop since the mid-90s. What was it like to make it to the point where you were able to quit your job to do this as a career? To take that leap there’s risk involved, but it’s obviously what you love. What was the feeling at that time?
It was a risk. I remember even when I left, it was just … the sad part was that it had nothing to do with how I was doing my job, it was the politics of the board of education and I was kind of targeted to be let go. You know, they gotta go through their vaccinations because it’s a union. I really should’ve let them fire me, but I didn’t, I just came in one day, handed them the keys and was like, "I’m out."
But, I remember getting that last check and realizing, like, ain’t no more direct deposit. I gotta go all-in and go hard. So, there was a moment of fear. But I remember a year after I quit doing the taxes and realizing that I made twice as much on my own than I did at that job, and being like ‘yo, damn!’ Cause in the midst of it I didn’t really realize it. So yeah man, there’s no greater feeling than being able to, you know… I was able to say ‘I’m gonna be out in the Bay for a week and a half,’ then I go to Seattle, then I go to Dayton, Ohio. So, I’m able to take two weeks and go to promote my album and I’m able to do that and have the resources and the funds to do that. There’s nothing better than being able to wake up where you wanna wake up and do what you wanna do, especially if it’s something that you love.
On “The Unmasking,” in a story of you searching for yourself, how closely related is the storyline of that song to what your reality has been?
Oh, that is my reality. That’s probably the most personal song that I’ve done. When I started writing the album, I put a little blog out there because I was going through some serious changes. Really, “The Unmasking” is a clearer picture of what was happening in my life at the time. They said I was buzzing, so I’m starting to feel myself a little bit, you know what I’m saying, cause I had this online buzz. It was weird, because I never had that experience. So I started to feel myself, and I started to really act in a way and make decisions in a way that wasn’t me, you know what I’m saying. Because I was having this “success,” I ended up going off-line for three months, man, and kind of just getting back to myself and my real life, trying to put everything in perspective. But, that was very real for me. And that song is a 100 percent real story of kind of that trial I went through at that time, like I said feeling myself and then making decisions that weren’t coinciding with what I was rhyming about or supposed to be living.
Jasiri X is scheduled to return from his tour later this month. His new album, Ascension, is available for purchase on iTunes and physical copies will be available in the coming weeks. You can stay updated on the latest with Jasiri X on Facebook and Twitter.
Wait wait wait.....WHO is this girl?!?!?
ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW!?! The 90's were all about paying $20 for 2 good…
Yeahhhhh, that song's OK. That "Secret Smile" song straight-up sucks, though, and I think it…