Pittsburghers flock to unconventional music venues | Music Issue | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Pittsburghers flock to unconventional music venues 

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An evening at a bowling alley or an afternoon shopping for plants don’t often feature live music, but a few local businesses have added just that to their repertoire of services.

Shadyside Nursery, located on Maryland Avenue, has made live music a summer tradition with its recurring event Weather Permitting. The event brings tunes, food trucks, beer, and family-friendly fun to the nursery every Sunday throughout the summer, with about 150 guests each week.

Weather Permitting began in the summer of 2013 with local DJ Pandemic Pete, aka Pete Spynda. He was looking for a way to combine his love of live music with kid-friendly outdoor summer fun. Family-friends of Spynda own the Shadyside Nursery, and after approaching him about starting a series of events at the nursery, Weather Permitting began.

“I have a now-ten-year old daughter, but at the time she was only four, and I was trying to create a space that was accessible to all ages,” Spynda said. “Even at Hartwood Acres, by the time the events there start at sundown, five-year-old kids are ready for bed. So as I was trying to solve those problems, the idea came to partner with food trucks and bring bands in.”

Aside from bringing families with young children out to see the live music, another one of Spynda’s favorite aspects of Weather Permitting is utilizing an urban green space.

“We built a little stage, and we have plenty of space and a sandbox and squirt guns for the kids,” Spynda said. “It’s a great way to enjoy the summer evenings.”

The event is – as the name suggests – weather permitting. Pittsburgh is no stranger to thunderstorms and bad weather, so when the grey skies strike, music fans looking for something different can head to local clothing stores for an indoor live music experience.

Illegal Apparel, a clothing store on East Carson Street, hosts multiple shows each month, most often featuring both touring and local rap artists. Sitting behind the racks of graphic hoodies and hats, a stage with room for a dancing crowd invites performers such as Pick Patek, Tyco X, and Young Ev to take the mic.

Illegal Apparel is not the only store to bring live music to its customers; a boutique in Lawrenceville called Civilization PGH takes a similar approach to live music as does Refresh PGH in Bloomfield.

Multiple local bowling alleys also double as music venues. Enix Brewery in Homestead, which features a large bowling alley, has hosted bands such as The Cause, Jim Donovan & the Sun King Warriors, and Beauty Slap. Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville occasionally hosts shows, as does Paradise Island Bowl in Neville Island.

The Pittsburgh music scene goes beyond traditional concert venues, and there are more options beyond clothing stores, nurseries, and bowling alleys – for example, Market Street Grocery occasionally hosts electronic acts. Anything from a basement to a coffee shop to an office building could become a new place to rock out.



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