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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ex-Breathing Gobblers

Gobble Manor is Joh-doh's house in East Liberty and I guess it is Glowworms HQ.  It is a cool location with a really rustic feel despite being in the heart of the city.  The whole house is well worn with a strange feel to the air.  There was a show there on January 12th 2013.



Satyr/Elfheim was first; this was the first show that I played this year.  I didn't bring an amp and used one that was owned by the guitarist from the touring band, Ex-Breathers.  It sounded good, but not perfect.  I played some spooky, wavy, metallic waves, like a church bell in a horror movie about vampires or cults, and then played the first S/E song, "Giants of Earth", which I also played on the radio back on December 21st.  I'd like to maybe play more songs live, and I have also intended to play this one especially.  I think my set went well, but it should have been louder.  Joh-doh seemed to like the riff from the song.


 Ex Breathers, from Tallahassee, Florida, played second; they were really fucking loud.  Think of a cool Dischord band like Rites of Spring, Fugazi, or Nation of Ulysses and that's basically what they sounded like, with maybe some of the chaos of the Minutemen.  Lots of energy super speeding around with what seemed like weird time signatures (I don't understand time signatures so whatever if I'm wrong).


Third and last was Glowworms with a new drummer who is not as hard-hitting as Marlon Battad.  I definitely feel like the drumming is now lacking in Glowworms, but it seems like their new drummer is more technical and consistent which could be interesting once they do some more shows with him.  Anyway Glowworms is like post-punk/goth/alternative/punk/metal or something; they totally rule.  All of their songs are very dramatic and apocalyptic like a totally unsimilar Neil Young.

 Gobble Manor is pretty seriously rad, even if the show was pretty small.  I'm hoping there will be more shows there soon.  Check out some sounds from this show here, and buy some Ex-Breathing gear or something too.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Secret Tombs Super Show


On January 11th 2013 there was a huge show at Howlers where three local bands played and some weird stuff happened.  It always seems that these "all locals" shows are the biggest which is kind of weird, but I guess Pittsburgh is really as clique-y as everyone thinks it is.  Regardless, I like these kinds of shows too, usually because of the large mix of people that normally wouldn't all be together at the same time.  That one element puts these shows over the top of what they might normally be.  Anyway here's my review:



The Lampshades played first, starting soon after I came in.  They sounded, like always, like a mix between a few different alternative bands.  A good description might be to say that they are like a poppier (but still heavy, maybe heavier?) Nirvana with Pavement's vocalist.  I thought that tonight their guitarist wasn't loud enough or maybe the bass was too loud.  It was awesome anyway still.


The Lopez was second.  They played some of their two-person electro-noise-punk.  This set seemed longer than usual, and  I never noticed how much Steph sounds like Kim Gordon until this show.  The Lopez was possibly a little too sloppy or maybe there wasn't enough space in the music, but they are pretty cool.

 
Secret Tombs finished the night off; it was strange.  During their set a weird guy got on the stage, took off his shirt, and started making weird poses pretending to be in a band.  Josh Rievel handed him weird objects which he didn't seem to care about.  Nothing could make this guy budge; it was sort of like a sit-in, but what was the protest about?  Eventually a kind of tough guy came up and tried to get the big man down off the stage, but it took a long time.  There wasn't any confrontation, the big guy eventually got really disappointed and grabbed all of his gear, put his clothes back on, and then left.  After that even Secret Tombs had change their set because the owner of Howlers told them that they couldn't play covers; Howlers has got in trouble for that in the past.  Secret Tombs, even with all of the chaos around them, ended up playing a killer set.  I didn't know how good they were; this was only my second (sort of third) time to ever see them.  They have a cool punk sound that incorporates elements of rock 'n' roll and blues, kind of like the Dead Boys or Rocket from the Tombs.  Killer stuff!

Since this show ruled let's have some more shows where a few different groups of people are collaborating soon.  I feel like Roup House used to be like this which was probably why it was so cool.  Anyway, come out to see bands that aren't just yr friends or something dudesmen.
Here are some sounds from the show.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Velvet Sludge

One of the first shows of 2013, sort of booked by me though mostly by Craig Freeman, featured the awesome Rochester band Velvet Elvis.  It seems appropriate to start the first Skull Valley review for 2013 here, even though it is not actually the first post, due to all of the other semi-firsts associated with it.

First up was my band Red Ginger.  This was the first show for R Magnelli/Brad Kline duo, and it wasn't so great.  Originally we were going to feature two other guys playing synths with us, but they seemed to slip out at the first sign (or sine) of trouble.  Apparently there was no mixer, but I'm not so sure of that.  I set up on the floor expecting the synth guys to take up a lot of space due to the Shop's small stage, but Brad couldn't really hear me and it was difficult for me to hear him.  His drums were also significantly quieter than my new set-up featuring the Peavy Bandit plugged into an external Fender 4x12.  We ended up sounding very textural and chaotic, which was partially my intention, but everything started to make more sense by the end.  Next time we'll hopefully have some songs instead of just improvising.  The placement of amps is also an important lesson for me to learn (I am working on it).

 
Another first for tonight was Lost Realms, Craig Freeman's band, who played their first show after a year's worth of practice time and shifting bass players.  It really showed; they were fucking killer.  After bringing out oriental rugs to place their pedals on, Lost Realms took off from the fuzz-scorched Earth into the emptiness of space.  They had a classic sound, super heavy, with raspy/Ozzy-ish vocals.  Things were a little too compressed and controlled for me, but whatever.  I don't know what the songs were about, but apparently they usually involve outer space (think Black Sabbath's "Into the Void").  There could have been more variation in their sounds, and Craig sounded a little nervous in between the songs, but it was only their first show and it was honestly awesome.


Velvet Elvis played third.  They sound like a modern Love-era The Cult, but apparently I don't know enough about sludge.  Velvet Elvis sounds much better live than on their new record In Deep Time; there are soaring highs and despair in the whole thing.  Their vocalist is amazing!  She has all of the cool poses that you would ever want and sounds like Grace Slick.  It is a lot like listening to "Cortez the Killer" for a whole half hour.  Buy their new album here; there are only a few left.  I don't know what I think of the cover; I'm not fond of appropriating Native American imagery, but it seems like it has some amount of weight to it, and the fact that everything is covered in white seems to actually be in support of the same ideas that I am for.  Anyway the music on it is killer.


Carousel came up last; they seemed to be more confident than when I had last seen them.  The frontman had lots of funny banter for everybody, and their songs were really tight.  Carousel has a very classic hard rock sound, Ozzy Osbourne and KISS, with a prominent Pittsburgh influence, though I feel like the latter fact may be somewhat exaggerated for comedic effect.  They were the fastest band here with significant muscle and control, and also, for real, check out that Gibson Explorer!  The vocals combined with the intertwining guitars give most of the songs a dramatic effect.  Seriously these guys fucking rule and you can get their new record at Mind Cure, Soundcat, and some other places.

This night was awesome and very musical, very rocking.  I'd like to go to more shows like this, but I don't think there are a lot of these kinds of things happening very often.  Anyway, again, please check out some of Velvet Elvis' merch and music here and here are some sounds from the show.
 
-Signing off for now

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 News

  Hey folks, we aren't dead actually, I think.  Starting today Skull Valley will attempt to have updates every time we attend a show.  I'd like to try to stay in the present though I'd like to review the short list of events that were attended by us in January and February first.  All unreviewed shows and stuff from 2012 is gonna take the backseat for a while, but I will get to it in posts that will be tagged with the phrase "Time Machine".  So stick around, we're not gonna quit just yet.