On March 25th the band Rhyton played at the Shop; I forgot my digital recorder (or I at least can't find the files now).

Fuck Telecorps played first, lacking Matt Wellins (who was supposed to be there).  There was trumpet playing and noise loops.  The calm soon descended into a psychotic dance with a garbage bag over Ed's head.  It was a really cool and fairly diverse set; always a great band.

Next up was Herman Pearl or Soy Sos.  I had thought that he was playing as part of Fuck Telecorps during their performance, but now it was clear that he was doing something completely different.  A large metal cylinder was manipulated like a giant industrial bell gleaming in the factory-ish Shop to produce overtones and ambiance.  It was probably one of the most unique things that I have seen someone do.

Zuma was third; this was the first show by a really cool new Pittsburgh band.  Zuma is two members from Free Clinic performing no-wave sludge.  They had the energy of a nuclear power plant and the sounds of the second half of Black Flag's My War or Mars' 78.  There better be more Zuma shows soon.

Finally Rhyton played, the most traditional of all of the varied acts that night.  Featuring (sometimes) mandolin, but mostly guitar/bass/drums, Rhyton sounded like a more noisy Greatful Dead.  They were pretty cool, but kept going for so long that it became less and less interesting.  Cool jams/long jams.  Rhyton looks pretty cool at least.

Valerie Kuehne played at the Mr. Roboto Project in December and she ended up returning to Pittsburgh March 18th for probably the most messed up and least organized show that I've ever seen.

First up was Manson Girls, but I missed them.  Some guy got mad because he had heard them described as "the best band in Pittsburgh" and apparently disagreed significantly; I wonder who spread this idea around?  Anyway I did see "Middle Children" with only Jay Dowl and without Meg Georgiana.  She ended up being replaced by Dru Bruce (Mustache Required) and Pam Hanlin (Dumplings) for a bizarre band called The Mamas and the Papas.  Dru basically improvised nonsense lyrics that got progressively better as they went along over Jay's beats.  It was pretty much like Mustache Required, but less focused and with less clever wordplay.  This could end up pretty cool if it kept going.

Valerie played next, but first she approached the stage with a creepy clown mask which she quickly placed on a volunteer after spooking everybody out with it.  Valerie then walked around and told a story involving Billy who is obsessed with clowns; it was pretty cool/fucked up.  Afterwards she took up her cello and maybe improvised some songs about fucking (Steve Albini would be proud) intensely.

Greg McKillop was last, substituting for Valerie's original tour mate who had dropped off a few days ago.  He is a really nice guy and played some songs like you hear from train-hopping crust punks in the Southside or Squirrel Hill.  It was cool and simple, and there was a lot of heart behind his songs.  Greg is returning to Garfield Artworks on May 16th with his band Speaker for the Dead; Manny has described them as a "large-scale (10+ people) political emo-punk brass band".  It should be cool so come check it out.

After the show everyone went to Caliente Pizza Bar on Liberty Avenue.  It is a pretty cool place; very dry and still and also a Turkish pizza place with a Spanish name.  Manny emphasized that these are common nowadays.

So I worked at Mr. Small's for GWAR's set there.  I don't really like metal.

Ghoul played first and they were pretty cool; they sounded like Ratface from Pittsburgh.  They all wore weird burlap masks that were kind of cool with blood running out the mouth.  Fast shredding guitars, but a little too much the same all the time.  Their banter got bad towards the end too; it was like they ran out of stuff to say.  I didn't really like their cheesy Transylvanian accents either.  Sometimes this Baron Samedi costumed guy would come out and squirt blood at everybody and I think another zombie dude came out and puked on us too.

Municipal Waste was second, but I really didn't like them at all.  Too much thrash and too many dumb songs: every single one was about getting fucked up, hanging out, fighting, or whatever.  The one song about the killer shark was pretty good.  I liked that the singer wasn't a bad ass metal dude, but he was pretty obnoxious.  At one point he asked the audience if they liked Minor Threat and then asked if they liked getting high; it was kind of funny, but also kind of annoying.  Their set made me realize how marketed metal really is.  Also look at that guitar.

This is GWAR's stage set up.  I couldn't take any pictures of them because I didn't want my camera to get fucked up (it would have definitely).  Just pretend that a bunch of big monster barbarians are playing music and pissing blood on you and killing other monsters that are squirting blood everywhere and assholes are stage diving every five seconds.  That worm was really cool, but it should have done more.  It could have eaten people apparently, but all they did was chop it up.  GWAR actually sounded pretty good; they are semi-melodic, but still metal.  They were all nice guys and are obviously in it for the ridiculousness.  At one point they made fun of Mushroomhead and Slipknot.  Pretty cool stuff + after the show I looked like this:

On March 13th all of these dudes I know opened for Mario diaz de Leon at Garfield Artworks.  It was a pretty cool show and there is a strange story involving Manny and a Roma woman that goes along with it, but this is just the show.

 Jake Lexso played a pretty quiet synth set of non-dance stuff.  It is similar to his split with Wasp nest Head Dress that was released that day.  It was all lots of swoops and phaser effects with no beats other than a pulsating, whirring sound.  Jake did some pretty cool stuff and his set was the only one with no guitar.

Wasp Nest Head Dress was second and started the night's trend of solo guitar noise.  His set was a more introspective edition of what he did at Howler's a few days ago.  He played the same cool green guitar that was received in a trade for some comic books.  There were breaking waves of static along with weirdo space feedback soaring over top.  He did some more distorted vocal stuff towards the end.  Good stuff.

Requiem played third; another guitar set, obviously, this time processed through a computer.  He started off very droney with lots of space between the notes and played what seemed like an awesome song instead of the usual improvisation that everyone does which was refreshing.  I think he used an e-bow for a lot of it which sounded really cool.  The second song he did was much less clear with all kinds of buzzing sounds like metal layered over metal.  Everything got really loud and chaotic at the end: everything set up to full blast with static and fucked up vocals over top.  Apparently his computer got screwed up around then, but it was really killer and probably the best Requiem set that I have seen.

Mario diaz de Leon was on fourth and last; he is a clone of David Graham (Requiem).  Mario played industrial/noise/metal for over half an hour.  It was a cool set and very cinematic and technical.  There were a lot of ambient/chorus effects building into distorted, semi-shredded guitar.  Mario never went into super harsh territory, and perhaps his sound was too compressed at times, but I thought that his metal/noise crossover sound was refreshing.  I hope he comes back some time.
You can purchase Mario's albums here and check out his website here.

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