Today’s Inquisition focuses our prying eyes on the drummer behind the punk-rockin’ Rocky Dennis Face!
On a beautifully mild and pleasant October evening, Pittsburghers of all stripes gathered in the normally quiet hamlet of Greenfield to rejoice in the re-opening of The Greenfield Bridge, a main thoroughfare connecting the community to Schenley Park and Oakland! Crafts, games, and delicious food trucks abounded, but my main reason for attending, and the perfect musical accompaniment, was a performance by the city’s own community-based band, The May Day Marching Band.
After a bombastic announcement that the bridge would, indeed, be dedicated in the spirit of Wonder by a colorful and impish Master-of-Ceremonies of sorts, The M.D. Marching Band led the procession to the “Wonder” maypole and back with a rousing rendition of “Song for Wonder,” a tune based on “Daniel Prayed” by the late, great Dr. Ralph Stanley and personalized for the event with words by Connor Sites-Bowen. The Marching Band did a fantastic job, especially considering that they had been presented with the song a mere twenty minutes before their performance. Once returning to center-bridge, the band really had a chance to shine, playing a song by Lokonon Andre & Les Volcans, “Mi Kple Dogveckpo” and a cover of the Peruvian folk song “Bella Andajena” in a spirited circle jam complete with frenzied dancing swirling around them.
Much to the disappointment of myself and the crowd, their set and celebration was cut short for some prolonged oration rife with political name-dropping prior to the bridge’s ribbon cutting. Although fun and carefree, the whole event seemed a bit disorganized. There was even a “parade” across the bridge in which the Marching Band didn’t appear to be invited to play in, a true loss.
Undeterred, the MDMB pulled double-duty that day by playing a full set at the burgeoning Glitter Box Theater, only breaking for a group meal, which is one of their only indulgences when compensated for their performances. The group of anywhere up to twenty musicians at any given appearance pride themselves on their volunteerism and have got an impressive resume to boast it, having played this year’s Women’s March on Washington and as far away as Boston’s renowned HONK! Festival in their seven or eight year career.
Meanwhile, back at home in the ‘bugh, the band have been a mainstay at Pittonkatonk‘s free-for-all May Day Brass BBQ. Ever evolving and expanding, the band invites musicians of all skill levels to join them under the Bloomfield Bridge from 2 – 4 pm for open practice every Sunday for as long as the weather remains above fifty degrees, after which you are invited to join them in the toasty indoors! I’ve been assured that dancers are welcome as well, although the inside spaces may prevent such revelry. Email for inside practice locations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experience the socially-conscious party that is the May Day Marching Band for yourself when they play at Howlers on October 25th with L.A.’s folk-metal The Manx and locals Joey Molinaro playing grindcore violin, and Crisp Lake (Chris Blake, ha!) playing hobo street music, from what I gather. Sounds like a good time to me!
So much going on this weekend! Pick a show and have a good time.
I met up with pop punk trio Playoff Beard to talk about their new album, the origin of the band (and its name), tour stories, and their picks for Pittsburgh’s best. Don’t miss the “Fun is Fun” record release show this Saturday, October 7th at Howlers, with support from Latecomer and the Scratch ‘n’ Sniffs. I guarantee it will be fun!
Welcome back, fine purveyors of the hidden gems that are the pubs, tap houses, bars, and lounges we are here to celebrate, nurture, and cherish. For this rendition, I was able to make the most of the night and take a double dip in the Greenfield area, specifically down the hill and “in the run,” i.e., the valley area of Greenfield underneath the parkway east where you can watch fine Pittsburgh motorists approach the tunnel at a mean speed of three miles an hour, but also stop for some solid food, great deals, and friendly people.
Nasty Nate of the Scratch ‘n’ Sniffs and Thunder Vest was turning dirty 30, an event that he decided to celebrate with a show–and what a rager it was, featuring Beaver county locals Whitethrash and Children of October alongside Pittsburgh poppy punks Playoff Beard. I arrived at the Fallout Shelter around 9:30 and the place was already hopping. I love seeing shows in such intimate spaces, especially when they’re packed with so many friendly faces.
Saturday, September 30th was International Podcast Day – and our friends over at the River’s Edge celebrated the occasion in style. Broadcasting live from Panza Gallery in Millvale, the night’s festivities included a nonstop livestream of all original musical acts, River’s Edge network podcast performances, beer from North Country Brewing Company, and mead from Laurel Highlands Meadery.