The Mr. Roboto Project may be in limbo, but its annual ADD Fest carries on | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Mr. Roboto Project may be in limbo, but its annual ADD Fest carries on

After a dozen years, DIY venue The Mr. Roboto Project closed its Wilkinsburg space in late February, and has yet to reopen in a new location. That left a longstanding annual event up in the air -- ADD Fest, which showcases 10 emerging local bands, each playing 10-minute sets. Some with paradoxically longer attention spans decided to step in, and now ADD Fest 13 will take place Sat., Nov. 20.

Mike "Q" Roth began putting out feelers over the last few months; although no longer officially involved, Roth was one of Roboto's founders, and has a long history with the community. Bands began lining up about a month ago, but organizers needed an all-ages space appropriate for a Roboto event.

"A couple of people recommended The Shop, which I hadn't been to yet," says Roth. Located near the foot of the Bloomfield Bridge, The Shop is a multi-use art and performance venue, the latest venture by Lauri Mancuso and Edgar Um Bucholtz. "As far as the artistic spirits, I feel there's a certain kinship there," says Roth.

The event aims to present an evening-long "smorgasbord" of emerging Pittsburgh acts, "letting people see bands and performers that they can go see again if they like their 10 minutes," says Roth. Generally, bands can only play once. 

The 10-minute limit "presents a challenge to bands," says Roth -- some have opted to play only one song, while others have crammed in as much as possible. One year, Thrak "ended up playing almost 20 songs" in 10 minutes, Roth says. "It provides something fun for both band and audience."

ADD Fest actually predates Roboto, first organized by John Fail at Chatham College's REA Coffeehouse. The second year, it was the first event at the Roboto Project, says Roth. "It became a convenient anniversary party for Roboto, and then it became the de facto Roboto event."

This year's lineup includes some familiar bands, Dark Lingo and Kim Phuc ("even though they've been around for years, they haven't played one," says Roth); electronic act Ag Ag Lady; and Young Accusers, a new band of "kids from outside the city," says Roth. Two groups invoke the dinosaur (the wolf/bear/crystal of the moment?): Ash Dinosaur and Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs. Also performing are RJ Myato, Big Slurp, Free Clinic and Neighbors (which includes City Paper listings editor Andy Mulkerin). 

A similarly sprawling complement of visual artists are also involved. While previous years have raised funds for the Roboto space, this year also benefits the Alzheimer's Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 


ADD Fest 13. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 20. The Shop, 4314 Main St., Bloomfield. $5-10 suggested donation. 412-951-0622

The Most Wanted Car Club Cornhole Tournament
15 images