Iron City Sound Ambassadors' January Pick
It’s that time of the month again (no not that one silly) where we sit down with the Iron City Sound Ambassadors and ask them a music-related question about our fine city of PGH. This month, I asked them what the best show they saw in 2011 was. It didn’t have to be local talent, but it did have to occur at a venue in PGH. You already know my picks for the best shows of 2011, as profiled in our Year In Review. Now it’s the Iron City ambassadors’ turn to tell you some of their favorite concert moments of 2011. Enjoy!
First up, we have Jesse Hall from Bear Cub’s pick:
My favorite show of 2011 was Slim Cessna’s Auto Club 11/12 at Club Cafe. A friend of mine has been telling me about this band for a year or two and I’ve always sort of dismissed them, for no real reason. She happened to have an extra ticket to see them, and I sort of went just to appease her, but holy shit, they were unbelievable. Two lead singers, dueling banjos and theatrics like I’ve truly never seen. I would definitely recommend checking out their live show whenever possible.
Next, Kellee Maize:
My favorite show this year was at a free event held at the August Wilson Center, right towards the end of 2011, on December 15. The show was after a panel hosted by Jasiri X, and one of my favorite women, Doctor Goddess. The panel was called “Taking Control of our Image” and featured a bunch of amazing speakers including my friend Davey D, Rhymefest, Bakari Kitwana, Jesse Muhammad, Malik Raasan and Wize Intelligent. After the panel, some of the young kids who were honored that night, as part of the New Media Academy, got to perform. They were so cute and talented. I am always so inspired seeing young people express themselves! Then, two of my favorite emcees did short sets. Jasiri X is always so captivating not only in his recordings and videos, but on stage. And, Wize Intelligent blew my mind as usual. I saw him at the Shadow Lounge a few years ago for the first time and bumped the album I got there non stop for about a year. It was an honor to see him again. I have learned so much from listening to both of these powerful men and it was so dope to see them live on the same stage. Oh, and Rhymefest, (who co-wrote “Jesus Walks” with Kanye), performed too. Bonus! Big shout out to Paradise and Jasiri for inspiring youth at the New Media Academy and making this show and panel happen.
Dave from Dream Job’s pick:
At the risk of sounding totally biased, truly my favorite and most memorable local show of 2011 was the ‘Hotel Yinza’ event I organized at Brillobox back in September. The lineup was – Triggers, Satin Gum, The Williams Band, School Of Athens, Sun Ray Shining Light & Boulevard Of The Allies, The Pump Fakes, and Dream Job each doing three White Stripes covers.
I’m not ordinarily a big fan of tribute type shows, but I thought it would be fun to do anyway, and if nothing else, a good excuse to play with and network with some of our peers on the Pittsburgh music scene. Happily, I was very pleasantly surprised when all of the bands put some very cool twists on the songs, dressed in White Stripes-like attire, and made it a really fun night. They were all really cooperative and great to work with. I thought I’d be running around all night trying to keep things flowing smoothly, but as it turned out, I found myself mostly just sitting back and really digging the show and being seriously impressed with all of the performances.
Honorable mention/best national touring act I saw in Pittsburgh last year was Explosions In The Sky at Stage AE in April. It was my first show at Stage AE, and I was really impressed with the venue, and (in my humble opinion) EITS is one of the most amazing and dynamic live bands ever…they couldn’t suck if they tried.
Next up, Josh from 1,2,3:
My favorite Pittsburgh show this year was hands down the Halloween show at The Shop. Five bands did cover sets ranging from the Misfits (which we did) all the way to Kiss and CCR. The full line up was us, Kim Phuc (joy division), Frizz/Pace(CCR), Carousel(Kiss), and Lady Beast (Dio era Black Sabbath). It was such a blast, and sold out very quick. The night was freezing, and the 200 people crammed into the Shop didn’t help much. Everyone really put a lot of time into their covers, which was awesome. No half assing. I can say for me, personally, that learning those Misfits songs and playing that show was one of my highlights of the year on every level. Just watching the crowd freak out, and grabbing the mic from Nic to sing along was great. I felt like a kid again, and I never thought I’d see moshing at a show that 1,2,3 was playing.
And Bonics for the close:
I’ve checked out some pretty good ones this year which includes Incubus, Big Sean, and Watch The Throne. Considering that, I must say that my most memorable show in PGH was the Dec 9 Mac Miller show. Mac had just sold over 160,000 records and reminiscent of Wiz Khalifa’s homecoming last year, Mac sold out two nights at Stage AE. To be on the same stage last year performing for the home town was an incredible feeling. Watching it from the audience this time was a whole new take. It sent shivers down my spine seeing 19 year old Mac fill Stage AE and he followed through with an even more fulfilling performance. To see his performance give so many so much joy was a moment! “Hands up!” “Makes Noise!” “Scream!” Whatever Mac said, the audience was right there with him. I got to see it from the balcony and from the behind on the stage. A very memorable moment happened when Mac shouted out performing at the Shadow Lounge in his early day. To quote the legendary Biggie “I never thought that Hip-Hop would take it that far.” That is what I thought. I’ve seen Mac perform at least 25 times this year all over the country, but this was special. It wasn’t the sold out show, the guitar playing behind his head, or the 50,000 check he donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation that made it a great night for me. Don’t get me wrong, all of those thing were magic, but to see a hometown kid put on for his city – that’s what it’s all about. To see someone follow his heart against all odds, that’s what it’s all about. It’s passion in action.
See you next month!