Bocktown singer-songwriter night brings good tunes to the 'burbs | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Bocktown singer-songwriter night brings good tunes to the 'burbs

The music, like the beer selection, shows sophistication

Bocktown Beer and Grill in Robinson is somewhat of an anomaly. The uninitiated might not expect to find any type of culture there, let alone good beer — it is, after all, located in Robinson Towne Centre, planted at the end of a strip mall opposite a Target. One might expect nothing more from the live music than a college sophomore playing "Brown Eyed Girl" to a disinterested audience throwing back Blue Moons and Boston Lagers. Not only would you be wrong about the beer — Bocktown boasts a craft "beer library" with more than 400 choices and 16 rotating taps — but you'd also be pleasantly surprised by the music. 

Tuesday night at Bocktown is "singer-songwriter night," a theme that's often broadly interpreted. On a recent Tuesday, the host band was The Breadline Preachers, who live up to their name with songs of economic woe with a heavy dose of soul-saving. The two-piece specializes in extremely palatable finger-picking blues, supporting the gruff bass of Chuck Beatty's voice and the precise, cross-harp harmonica styles of Stanley Mikolajek. In contrast with expectations, they played a strong collection of originals.

That's not to say there were no covers; there were, but "Brown Eyed Girl" wasn't one of them. Instead, the audience received a varied mix of old-school folk and blues. They even covered "Sweet Georgia Brown" — when was the last time you heard that covered at a bar?

The Breadline Preachers is the type of act a songwriter wishes to hear at a bar — and the booking speaks to Bocktown's desire to bring culture to the suburbs. It seems to be working: The audience was sizable for a Tuesday night, and very attentive. 

Despite its suburban setting, Bocktown brings it; anyone who respects good beer and music would be wise to check out a Tuesday night at the bar. Ethnic jazz ensemble Marbin plays Bocktown this Tue., Dec. 4.

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