Another stacked bill brought patrons young, old, and in between to The Mr. Roboto Project. Although this show was a bit different from the more aggressive gigs I tend to attend, it was one of the best shows I have been to this year.
The gig opened with the soft soothing sounds of Pittsburgh transplant The Childlike Empress. Tatiana’s type of music is a bit out of my comfort zone, but the personal stories she shared were very easy to relate to. Her simple guitar strumming and a very powerful voice were quite palletable. She played the second half of her set with a banjo and I can say this was the first time I was ever afraid of a banjo. Her soft strumming and beautiful voice had me in a trance and a sharp chord caused me and a few other patrons to jump out of their skin for a moment. You can check out her tunes “Anxious Thoughts” (personal favorite) and “Line Of The Heart” off the 4th River Music Collective Compilation 2017. Catch her at the Glitter Box Theater next Friday, July 21st and keep an eye out for her upcoming record Take Care Of Yourself.
Early Riser played next and, oh boy, did these cello punks from New York really tear it up. Roboto was the last stop on their nine day tour with The Homeless Gospel Choir. Every band on this bill sounded phenomenal but the beautiful sounds resonating from Heidi’s cello really stole the show for me. It was really cool to see a band use a cello to drive the melody, because most of the bands I see with cellos usually use it as a support instrument. Three-way vocal harmonies really brought the whole thing together into a bitchin’ powerful sound. I will definitely be seeing this band the next time they come through town. Until then I will be listening to their recently released record Currents put out by A-F Records.
Up next was The Weak Days. These cool cats from Virginia brought a ton of energy to the show and really kicked things up a notch. To say the least, their set was very “tight.” These kids were having a ton of fun playing their blend of high energy indie/punk/emo/pop punk with a super positive message. They played through most of their new record Tight that you most definitely should listen to. Pedalboard problems caused a small hiccup in the set, but Tommy powered through the rest of their set missing one guitar. As a first time listener I couldn’t tell the difference and thought they sounded great. You can preorder a vinyl copy of their new record here.
Up next was Punksburgh favorite The Homeless Gospel Choir (Derek Zanetti). If you don’t know who this guy is by now you’re not reading Punksburgh enough and should check out our interview with him. I have been trying to get to one of Derek’s shows for a while now and I can tell you I was not disappointed in the least bit. He played one song (“Musical Preference“) on stage before jumping into the audience to sing with all his friends. He started off with some old tunes then moved on to play a few from his upcoming album The Homeless Gospel Choir presents: Normal. The highlight of the evening, for me, was when he brought a very important young lady into the mix to sign the words of his song “Normal.” She will be doing this for Derek’s entire set at his record release show on August 18th at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. During this show Derek will be playing his record Normal in its entirety, so don’t miss it.
Secret Stuff of Nashville, TN closed out the show with some solid emo punk tunes. Skillful guitar licks, powerful passionate vocals, and excellent work by the sound woman gave this three piece a huge sound. Secret Stuff just wrapped up a lengthy tour but you can pick up their record This Is Fine from Spartan Records on their Bandcamp.
Something special happened at this show on Saturday night. Not only were my ears filled with wonderful music, but my sometimes apathetic heart was filled with good vibes. The thing that made this show so special for me was the gratitude and passion that was flowing through the air. Every single performer played the fuck out of their instruments. Every singer sang with passion and conviction. Every break between songs was filled with messages of hope and motivation, to show up and keep giving a fuck. I have not been around that much positive energy in a long time and, personally, I really fucking needed it. I left the show wanting to be a better person and help others do the same. I think it’s pretty amazing that a silly thing like punk rock can do that. Thank you to everyone at Roboto, all the artists for doing a killer job, all the wonderful people that came to the show, and Logan Tilley for taking some amazing photographs. See you at a show!