As we noted in our weekend overview post yesterday, Saturday was full of good show choices. I ended up in the divey, smoky environs of Gooski’s for a night of some unique music. Once again I was joined by Punksburgh’s Gooski’s correspondent, Ray Kolcun of Crooked Cobras, who chimed in with his observations.

As always, the show was running on punk time, so things didn’t get started until 10:45 or so, giving me plenty of time to interview Dead River before they hit the stage (stay tuned for that!). This three piece plays a mix of punk and grunge. The songs are fast and aggressive, punctuated by the occasional guitar solo. Guitarist Dan sings most songs while bassist Eugene takes over occasionally. The sound is rad and different from most “typical” punk bands. If you missed Dead River, you can find them next at the Deutschtown Music Festival, playing Huszar at 4pm on Saturday 7/15. You can find their music on Bandcamp.

Dead River

Ray sez: That was pretty awesome. If The Cure and The Cult (Love-era) played with the ferocity of The Circle Jerks and Black Flag, that’s a fair way to describe Dead River. Jason Thompson may be the best drummer in Pittsburgh. Dead River is possibly the best band in Pittsburgh at this time. 

Next up, a self-described noise-sludge duo from Columbus, Ohio, Reflex Machine provided a unique, intense, listening experience. The bassist plays a six string bass, then splits the output and runs it through a modulator, bumping the signal up an octave. By doing so, he functionally creates the sound of a bass and a regular guitar at the same time. It’s a crazy trick, but it works with the sound the group is going for. The end result is a very aggressive, very heavy sound, with screaming vocals.

Reflex Machine

If you’re interested in hearing their music, which I highly recommend, you can check out Reflex Machine’s Bandcamp.

The sticker explains it all.

Ray sez: This band accomplishes more with two members than most bands with two guitars tuned to C. The most intense drum and bass duo than I’ve heard since godheadSilo. Highly recommended. 

Last up on the bill was Holy Rivals, who were recently signed to Pittsburgh’s Blackseed Records (run by Shy Kennedy of Horehound). Unfortunately it was more like Holy Rival tonight, as personnel issues forced guitarist Jason Orr to perform a solo set. He endeavored well through a few songs, but ended up cutting the set short.

Jason Orr of Holy Rivals


Despite the disappointing ending, it was still a fun night for all. Check out some new music, and we’ll see you at a show!