Monday, March 26, 2012
Due to transportation complications, I was unable to witness Look Out Loretta's opening performance, but heard good reviews from my fellow attendees.
The Sleeper Pick gave an energetic performance, concentrating on playing to the front of the crowd. Vocalist Jesse Gruber sounded a little flat on a few songs but still delivered an exciting performance. The work of drummer Donnie Dell was pretty impressive, and his frequent use of the bass drum gave each song a little more grit.
Tyler Carter took the stage next, performing hip hop songs with a bubblegum pop twist. He and his band performed well for it only being their sixth show on their first tour. Their music was very electronic-based, with a MacBook Pro sitting atop one of their speakers facing the crowd as though it was a fifth band member.
Clad in a wide-brim hat, Daniel Young trotted on stage after Tyler Carter with the rest of This Providence to serenade the crowd with a series of their new material mixed with a few older favorites such as "My Beautiful Rescue," which the crowd reacted to by chanting nearly every lyric. This Providence's technique was incredibly tight, and the set list was well-constructed, as the variations in tempos from song to song came off as pleasing instead of fatiguing to the ears. Their use of unexpected instruments like the tambourine and harmonica accented the rest of their instruments well. There were few moments of silence between songs, consistently keeping the energy high. Perhaps the most inspiring part of the performance was when they played "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," from their 2006 self-titled album. The way Young belted the choruses invoked goosebumps.
After This Providence, the crowd anxiously awaited wordsmith Jason Lancaster and the rest of the Go Radio crew to perform. As the room went dark, a red police siren flashed with its tone deafening the audience. Enter Go Radio. Cue frenzied crowd.
The band used the whole stage during their set, running back and forth and on top of two podiums placed at the edge of the stage to reach as many screeching fans as possible. Bassist Matt "Burns" Poulos gave a charismatic, almost theatrical performance, pounding his chest to the beat of the bass drum in several songs. Lancaster did an excellent job of projecting his voice over the many attendees screaming along with songs like "Any Other Heart," "Kill the Beast" and "Hold On." He also took to a keyboard for several songs, making the atmosphere seem a little more intimate.
A cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" really got the crowd going with Go Radio's angrier, heavier take on the Top 40 hit. The band worked hard throughout their set, with Lancaster's black button-down shirt appearing soaked with sweat not even halfway through the performance. Go Radio seemed genuinely appreciative of the large crowd in front of them, with Lancaster saying at one point, "We never really figured we would be this far away from home and all of you would be here." The boys closed the performance with the beautiful "Goodnight Moon," a melodic rock ballad that references the children's book of the same title. Overall, Go Radio's performance gave the evening quite the climactic conclusion.
I caught up with Go Radio guitarist Alex Reed in between bands for a brief Q&A.
NC: What do you love about coming to Pittsburgh?
AR: The hospitality. The people we encounter every time seem great. We're from the South, so that southern hospitality resonates with us.
NC: What do you love about touring?
AR: Everything. The spontaniety...when you decide you want to be a touring musician, it's what you sign up for. The friendships you make are priceless.