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Thursday, September 7, 2017

RANT 2017

RANT, an acronym for Rock All Night Tour, is a big festival in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh that is in its sixth year. I have never gone to any of the previous years, as big events make me anxious with their obligations. Since I now live in Lawrenceville, it seemed silly not to go this year, which itself is kind of an obligation.

I decided to go to only two of the shows, both on the night of September 2nd. The first was at Spirit, and the second was at the Lawrenceville VFW, a place I had never been before. I wanted to see some of the bands at Roundabout Brewery, but the times conflicted with the bands I wanted to see at the other two shows.


I made it to Spirit a little after Swampwalk had started. Not many people were there, and no more than four were anywhere near the stage; many people were back near the bar. It was fairly empty, and that was disappointing to me. Swampwalk's set was pretty cool, though there were some little mistakes that she pointed out in a cute way that made them seem fun. I always like the song about street harassment. It's incredibly well-written and addresses a serious topic. She flipped off the crowd in a friendly sort of way during that one. I think she was also a little frustrated with the crowd's disconnect.



Next was Bat Zuppel. I actually took a short trip home, only a few blocks, due to anxiety and hunger/thirst. I saw about half of Bat Zueppel's set. They must have started late, because it seemed like they went on later than they were scheduled to. I've only seen Bat Zuppel play at the Ramones tribute show I did last year. This set was not as exciting as that one. It was good, but it lacked the intensity and fury. There were some really cool guitar leads and cool rock moves, though. I wonder if it was due to the separation of the band from the crowd; being high up on a stage is much different than playing at the same level as the audience right in front of you. The audience was still not paying attention either.



Thousandzz of Beez played an awesome set after Bat Zuppel left the stage. I was so impressed! The crowd seemed more impressed too (finally)! I have only seen Thousandzz of Beez once before, so this was almost entirely new to me. Of course I had seen Hunter play with Dani in Space Debacle recently; this was very different, though of course there were some similarities. This set reminded me of something Syd Barrett might have played had he been born to my generation instead of the acid-soaked 60's. Hunter's garb and the songs did remind me of the 60's though, accompanied with drum machine and a little harp in addition to the typical folkish guitar of Greenwich Village. Thousandzz of Beez is quiet musick, night musick, Pittsburgh's Colossal Youth. I was entranced by these songs, and I almost wanted to go home and think about what I had just seen.

I did go home for a short time. I did think about what I saw. On the way back to my house, I saw some friends outside Roundabout Brewery and got to see a little bit of The Long Hunt, a Sabbath-y instrumental group. On the way back out after my short stay at home, I also stopped there for a second and saw the shortest glimpse of Midge Cricket. I couldn't stay though.



The Lawrenceville VFW did not look like it was hosting a show. When I entered, there was a faint smell of smoke and numerous older men. However, there was a small area in the corner with some gear set up. Aloe was just getting ready when I came in. The sound person made them turn down a few times; they were awfully loud for such a small venue. It was kind of funny. Aloe played some new songs using some older poetry. These songs were really good! I liked them maybe a little more than the already existing songs.


I considered leaving after Aloe's set, but I hung out with some friends. There was one more band to play, LoFi Delphi. The name doesn't really fit the band. LoFi Delphi is a very polished band, almost like a very professional bar band, but not as boring. The audience seemed really into it; the VFW was way more packed than Spirit. I was still talking with friends, so I don't have a good recollection of their set. They did play a nice cover of "Psycho Killer" at the end. I feel like it's a played out song, but it worked well.

I stayed a bit longer and then went home. It was good to go out and finally see/hear what RANT was all about. It's not really a tour and does not go all night, but it was fun to see a few very different bands. I think it would be cool if it was like Art All Night and actually went all night at one or two venues where a person could pop in and out of at their leisure. Art All Night can't do musick all night though either. Next year, I hope that the RANT folks can get more people out to these shows, maybe reel it back a little. The performers were all fine, but it was weird to see the upstairs of Spirit so empty for such a big, advertised event. I plan on going next year again to see what they come up with.

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