#SharePghMusicMonth – Shelf Life String Band 

If you’ve ever wandered into the Park House on a Wednesday night, you were probably greeted by the bluegrass stylings of the resident Shelf Life String Band. This ‘runaway train in complete control’ plays a mix of traditionals and originals that take you on a unique musical journey. The non-traditional addition of a saxophone (played by Mark Jackovic) really throws a monkey wrench into the mix, which makes the band all the more unique.

Photograph taken by Thomas Koraido

 The voice of lead vocalist and guitarist Derek Dysart is wholesome and welcoming. Be aware though – when they commit to a tempo of 160+ beats per minute, the space time continuum itself seems to slow from the furious fingerpicking of banjo player Joe Dep, the fast fiddling of violinist Rocky Youhon, and the serious strumming of mandolin player Andy Boehm. Bassist Riley Zimmerman gives the band its solid foundation. 

Photograph from Shelf Life’s Facebook page

 Whether you are a fan of bluegrass or not, the inviting presence of this band is bound to have you in the mood for some pickin’ and grinnin’ by the end of the night. We here in the ‘burgh are lucky to have them. 

Weekend Roundup pt 2: 9/30-10/1

~~ Saturday, 09/30 ~~

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The Deutschtown Music Festival wanted to fit in one more outdoor party for the year. The Skyline Party features 7 bands  and will be hosted by Hugh Twyman of HughShows Photography. The stage will be located in Allegheny Commons Park next to Sue Murray Pool (across the street from the Allegheny Elks Lodge). Bands playing include God’s Green ApplesLondon Johnson‘s Magnificent Street Entertainers, KaelberColonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime BandOld GameTimbeleza, and Dinosoul.

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Metal fans, get your asses to Cattivo for an all-day metal/sludge/doom extravaganza! This amazing event is being put on by Shy Kennedy of Blackseed Records and is sure to be an amazing time.

The line-up is: CANTEnhailer – Monolith WielderArcharusHorseburnerWasted TheoryFoghoundEYEClouds Taste Satanic – Lady BeastBrimstone CovenSolace – The Midnight Ghost Train –  Earthride – Stinking LizavetaPenance – Valkyrie.

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Nate from the Scratch ‘n’ Sniffs and Thunder Vest is turning 30 and he’s celebrating with a banger of a show, featuring Playoff BeardChildren of October, and Whitethrash! Head down to the Fallout Shelter tonight to see the bands he’s handpicked and celebrate since he never throws parties and “no ones guaranteed another (birthday)”

Support Michael Devine (Zombo)’s campaign to be a state representative! Version Mary (from Ohio), Action Item (debut show), the return of the Allegheny Rhythm Ranger, Elkhound and Jim Storch will be heading up this event! Head out to Howlers for fun for your entire 21+ family, raffles, prizes, and no clowns.

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Weapons Of Choice, The Homisides, and Cumplete Basturds will be playing Sidebar tonight for Punk Night! They’re guaranteed to get you feeling something with their hard and fast playing.

Slim Forsythe & the Turbosonics!! This show will be outside (weather permitting) so dress accordingly! This is an all ages show and it’s for the best price of FREE. Rock, rockabilly, and some classic instrumental surf rock!

Thë Nërd Hërdërs, Rule of TwoJIFF will be playing at the Rock Room “where the PBR is cold and the pizza boats are cheap.” What’s not to like?

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LoFi Delphithe dark lines, The Park Plan, and Jeremy Caywood are helping us say “goodbye” to the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (do you really have to go?) with some rockin’ jams. Be sure to grab some perogies and stuffed cabbage before they’re gone.

Dead River / Reflex Machine / The Russells / Father Flamethrower will be playing tonight at Gooski’s. Word is to “bring your passport, we’re going wild.” If you like fun, you’ll come out. Check out our review of the last time Reflex Machine was in town!

Molly Drag / Past Life / The Bird Hour / Shin Guard will be playing at Cafe Verona (if you don’t know where it is, you’ll need to message Don’t Let the Scene Go Down on Me! Collective for the address). This is a BYOB show if you’re 21+ and has a $5-$10 suggested donation. We’ll see you there to support some awesome touring bands as well as locals.

~~ Sunday, 10/01 ~~

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There will be no punk time for this punk show. Zombii will be coming in from Connecticut to join the Shutouts and Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs! for a good time at Ruggers on a Sunday evening.

Black PussyStone Cold KillerOld Lords keep the rock, beer, and fun flowing with us tomorrow night at the Smiling Moose.

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This is Bren (from Modern Baseball)’s birthday-road-trip-acoustic-tour. Come out, celebrate, and hear some great music from Caitlin Bender (from CALYX) and Distant Futures (acoustic) on a Sunday night.

No One Expects the Punksburgh Inquisition: Pat McGhen (Playoff Beard/the Shutouts)

Photography by Scott Kostelnik


Today you get to hear from Pat McGhen: bass player in Playoff Beard, guitar player in the Shutouts, and avowed advocate for fun. 

List the names of every band that you’ve ever played in ever. 

The All-Stars, the Radio Beats, Smithfield, the Forbidden Five, the Atomic Disasters, Jagwagon, Dude Riot, the Shutouts, Playoff Beard. I’m sure there are more, but I can’t think of them.

What was the artist, album, or song that inspired you to play/write music? 

Green Day – Dookie was a total gamechanger.

What is your favorite piece of merch that you own?

Probably my Superdrag shirt that led to an excited conversation with their drummer about Cheap Trick.

Tell us one thing about the Pittsburgh music scene that could be better and one thing about the scene that you love. 

In the last few years, I’ve noticed the scene(s) being a lot more supportive of each other than I’ve seen in the past. As far as things that can improve, I dunno. Can we have some more drummers, maybe?

What’s something about you/your band that you think people should know that maybe they don’t? 

Tim is really good at Skate or Die 2.

If you had to pick only one of your songs for people to listen to, which one would it be? 

The Shutouts – What Can You Do?

Who would you cast in the movie of your band?

Tim would be portrayed by Tom Everett Scott. Steve Zahn would play Thom. Ethan Embry would play me.


How does your mom/family react to your music? Do they come to your shows?

My mom doesn’t come to shows, but she has always been super supportive of my interest in music. I think she’s actually even liked one or two of my bands!

What band or artist have you seen live the most number of times?

Probably the Queers.


What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you at a show as a performer or spectator?

While in the Radio Beats, I had to talk the cops into not shutting down a show in the middle of our set while still playing drums. It somehow worked, we finished our set, and I’m PRETTY SURE nobody got arrested.

You can see Pat playing bass with Playoff Beard tomorrow, Saturday 9/30 at the Fallout Shelter with Children of October and Whitethrash. For a change of pace, catch him playing guitar with the Shutouts on Sunday 10/01 at Ruggers with Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs! and Zombii (CT). If you’re not sick of him yet, make sure to stop by the Playoff Beard record release show on Saturday 10/7 at Howlers with Latecomer and the Scratch ‘n’ Sniffs. If that’s too much Pat for you, just order the record online from Between the Days Records

You can listen to Playoff Beard on Bandcamp or Spotify, and the Shutouts on Bandcamp

#SharePGHMusicMonth: Weapons of Choice, the choicest for hardcore!

Not to be confused with that other, singular, ’90s funk-punk band, Weapons of Choice is hardcore to the core! Formed in 2013, they struggled to find a 3-word name to easily identify themselves as a hardcore band a la ’80s powerhouses like MDC, DOA, SOD, MOD, and so on. Despite the fact that WOC is pronounced with a “Dubya” in Pittsburghese, the core members Shawn – vocals,  Ryan – guitar, and Travis – drums came to an agreement and there was no going back!

With the recent addition of Will on bass, WOC’s live shows are full of energy and humor. I am forever surprised by the size of the scream that Shawn effortlessly manages to force out and the gleeful expressions on Travis’ face are a steadfast reminder that it’s all in good fun.  Adding to their performances, the boys frequently invite the crowd to do away with the notion of a fourth wall and participate in the chaos. Ryan reminisces with a smile about the madness he’s witnessed both on stage and off over his 25 years as a musician saying, ” I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff as a performer. I hope that never stops!”

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The Spectres / The Park Plan / LoFi Delphi @ James Street (9/23/17)

The thing that I love about the Pittsburgh music scene is just how rich and diverse it is. I’ve been going to shows pretty regularly for the past few years and there are SO MANY bands that I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing, with more still popping up all the time. So even though we get many great touring acts coming through town, I’m a huge fan of all-local bills; it’s a wonderful opportunity to see how much talent we have here at home.

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The Spectres celebrating their big day.

Saturday was no exception to this. It was originally planned as a release show for the Spectres/the Me Toos‘ 7″ split (as well as a birthday party for the Me Toos’ drummer Kevin), but things took a twist when Kevin’s son upped the ante and decided he wanted to be released too. Kids: ruining plans from day zero (congrats on the new baby, Kevin!). The Me Toos sat out their release show, but luckily they were able to get LoFi Delphi to fill in and close out the show. Three locals, three first-time bands for me, and one heck of a good time.

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#SharePGHMusicMonth, it’s National Dumplings Day!

EVERYone loves Dumplings! Like the delicious culinary treats enveloped in dough, devour today’s #SharePGHMusicMonth auditory treat enveloped in rock, Dumplings, the band!

Birthed in 2012, Dumplings is a family affair. Brothers Jason on drums and Jonathan on guitar and vox were joined by Pam on bass & vox to complete their trio of tune smiths. Tying the knot in 2016, Jon officially brought Pam into the fold, making the band 100% Dowling.

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Daikaiju / The Struggle Bus @ Howlers (9/23/17)

Well, that was fucking crazy.

I did not expect to go to Howlers Saturday night. Actually, I did not expect any of the events that transpired that evening. I had originally planned to go to Lawrenceville for another event but shortly before leaving the house, I saw a Facebook post from Howlers showing a photo of a masked man playing the drums while hoisted above the crowd by the attendees with the caption, “You should probably be here tonight in case this happens again.” Needless to say, I was intrigued.

I went over to Daikaiju’s Facebook page and saw flaming guitars, then clicked on their Bandcamp and heard surf–I was sold, to say the least. My constant fear of being late got me the gig early, per usual, so I posted up at the bar and hung out until The Struggle Bus finished soundcheck. It was my first time seeing this local four-piece with an awesome name. I use the phrase “riding the struggle bus” at least three times a day, so they had me won over before the first chord.

The Struggle Bus, according to vocalist/guitarist Dan, is “a collective of misfits that struggle through life and put our experiences to music. We have influences from Tom Waits to Wilco, ’90s alternative and ’00s indie rock.  Mostly we love to play, and just want to share that with everyone. Strugglos for life.” I thought they sounded great and had a good energy, plus they brought along a few “struggle babes” to drive their struggle bus (a cardboard school bus with fancy flashing lights) through the audience, and had two giant slices of inflatable pizza bouncing around the crowd like some sort of pop-punk paradise. I love when bands get the crowd involved in their performance with stuff like this.

Struggle Bus photos by Steve Yost

Daikaiju was up next and they took crowd participation to a whole new level. After soundcheck I returned to the back room of Howlers to find the band’s equipment set up in front of the stage. However, the band was nowhere in sight. A few minutes go by and I feel something brush against my leg. I look down to find a shirtless masked man crawling on the ground towards his guitar. After showing some love to a few masked fans with a kiss, the masked men began their strange surfing safari through my brain. The band sounded super tight despite the fact they were dancing through the crowd the whole time they were playing.

Daikaiju Photo by Steve Yost

About three songs into their performance they decided to move their drumset further into the crowd. Around this time, the band started directing people to go onto the stage and this is when I realized the band had not spoken a word. The non-verbal communication made the masks even weirder and I was super into it. Everyone on the floor and on the stage was a participant in Daikaiju’s strange performance and we have the sweat stains to prove it. The drum kit was moved around the room a few more times, then the lighter fluid came out. The kit was set ablaze and the band didn’t skip a beat. After the flames died out and the guitarist was carried around for a bit, the drums started to rise. The drummer and his drums were hoisted in the air by me and about ten other people while Daikaiju played through two more songs.

Daikaiju photos by Steve Yost

Most bands would end a show here, but what ensued next was pure chaos. We lowered the drummer and I was handed drumsticks and instructed to play the flaming cymbal in front of me. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t super fucking cool. The cymbal was used as a torch to light the remaining instruments on fire before being handed off to the audience to play. We jammed away like flaming idiots for at least five minutes before I noticed the band was standing outside watching us. I hopped over the stage to thank and chat with the band. About twenty minutes went by before the music stopped and the performance was over. I picked up two copies of their single “Cocklobster” before heading home. I never did make it to Lawrenceville.

You can catch The Struggle Bus at The Smiling Moose October 23; in the meantime, you can listen to them hereDaikaiju is on a huge tour right now and you should absolutely see th em as soon as possible–you will not be disappointed. You can find their music on their websiteSpotify, and Bandcamp. Cheers!

#SharePghMusicMonth – Delicious Pastries! 

For today’s #SharePghMusicMonth, it’s my honor to introduce Pittsburgh’s best-kept indie pop secret: the Delicious Pastries. Gaining inspiration from the Elephant Six Collective of bands, the Pastries create an array if ethereal tunes. Their discography thus far includes two EPs – Aleatoric Delay and Pretty Please – as well as a single titled Pygmalion Cantations.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them open for Elephant Six bands Dressy Bessy and Big Fresh, as well as headlining spots at Brillobox (where they were dubbed “Pittsburgh’s Loudest Band” – and believe me, I’m glad I had my earplugs) and Mr. Smalls Theatre. When they’re not playing you can spot the band in attendance of some of their favorite artists – including of Montreal and The Music Tapes. The band also made a pilgrimage to Athens, Georgia where they visited the birthplace of the Orange Twin Record Label and attended the Athens Pop Fest.

Jonathan Chamberlain

Delicious Pastries

The Pastries are currently in the process of recording a full-length album, to be released sometime early in 2018. I’m dying of anticipation, and look forward to the release show (details yet to be determined). 

Jesse Ley

Stephen Gallo (right), Dan Styslinger (keyboard)

#SharePGHMusicMonth: Gahara “don’t do covers,” + bonus video, Mud City Manglers!

Don’t let the byline fool you, today’s pick & piece comes form Old Man McGee, who is probably my best resource for new local music. Enjoy!

It is #SharePGHMusicMonth after all, so I took a minute to chat with my old friend, Benj, who helms the drums for local heavy riff band Gahara. They’ve been together around four years now, but these cats all have former lives in other prolific local bands like Shiver, Vega, Gigantis, and the appropriately named The Burning Sensations. So really, they’ve been around for years and if you’ve ever caught them live their experience is apparent, as they tend to own the stage.

I asked Benj how he would describe their sound to which he replied, “heavy ball bashing riffage,” which is probably more apt than anything I would have come up with! Typically, when describing their sound I reference bands like Fu Manchu and Black Sabbath. Benj has recently re-discovered the joy of Mickey’s Wide Mouth bottles and when I asked about the band’s influences, he responded:

“We just do our own thing. We’re all a little older now, so we don’t really care about what’s cool. We write songs that we like and we don’t really write to fit any style or genre. We don’t do covers.”

Don’t take this “heavy” talk too far though, ’cause these guys still put on a fun show and know how to have a good time while dragging you along for the ride!

Gahara wrapped up a series of summer shows with Brews and Brushes at Black Forge Coffee House last month as part of the wind up to the Brewtal Beer Fest 2 that went down on September 9th. They’re working on getting their songs studio ready and are planning to record and self release a full length album in 2018.
Since it is #SharePGHMusicMonth I asked Benj to hit us with a local band people should know about. He said, “go check out the Mud City Manglers, cause those guys rock.”

T. Punbchbowl here again. Since we uncharacteristically missed a day of this celebratory month (Monday must have been manic,) we decided to double-dose you today! Also enjoy this track from Benji’s recommended band, Pittsburgh mainstay Punk ‘N Rollers, The Mud City Manglers! This track is from Mind Cure Records October 2013 Single of The Month, but you can sample songs from their 2016 release, “Heart Full of Hate” on ReverbNation.

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