Belvederes Ultra-Dive ready to show off new look

Written by Scott Mervis on .


belviesphoto of revonation from Belvie's FB pagWelcome back, Belvie’s!


One of Butler Street's premier hangouts, Belvederes-Ultra-Dive, will formally reboot tonight with a Grand Opening Party featuring dance tunes by DJs Hank D, Jx4 and Get Weird DUO Cucitroa and Dizcrepncy.


Belvederes -- a Lawrenceville hub over the past decade for punk, indie and metal bands and ‘80s/’90s dance nights -- closed in late December 2014 after damage from a 4:30 a.m. kitchen fire.

Initially, they expected to be down for just a few months. It’s taken 16. But until the Belvies' regulars dirty it up, it will be less of a dive. Among the upgrades: three new pool tables, a new hand-built back bar, higher ceilings, a capacity jump a little over 200 to 320, and, for you people who like to breathe, “the smoke eaters are actually plugged in so there’s that (aka less stank)."

"It is a smoking bar, however nowhere close to before," says Joy Toujours, party manager at Belvies. "At the end of old Belv nights you could see a cloud halfway to the ground. With the new system it was clear as can be when we turned on lights last night. [The club has had a soft opening.] And my clothes don't even smellvederes!!!"

The first live show will be of the Mongolian folk-metal fiddle and throat-singing variety with Tengger Cavalry on June 3 ($10 at the door).


 “We will be doing live shows again and already have some nice shows booked but not until June,” said a Facebook post. “We feel we are better at dancing so we will be continuing a strong DJ lineup but will still do live music mixed in also. Our capacity is up quite a bit so thats a thing too.”

 Here is the schedule for the first week:

 Friday, May 20: Grand Opening Party with DJs Hank D, Jx4 and Get Weird DUO Cucitroa and Dizcrepncy.

 Saturday, May 21: The Return of ’90s Nite with Sean MC + DJ Thermos

 Sunday, May 22: Eclectic Funk with Brotha Free

 Monday, May 23: Safety Pins and Razor Blades with DJ 1984 (jimmy)

 Tuesday, May 24: Karaoke with T$

 Wednesday, May 25: CLOSED for Private Thingy

 Thursday, May 26: First Official 80s NIGHT NEONEONEON with h8su2

 Friday, May 27: PoP RockS (innocent pleasures from TayTay to MIA w Djs NICE REC and killjoy)

 Saturday, May 28: 10 YEAR anny DOWN AND DERBY w Djs Jx4 + Nugget

 Belvederes is at 4016 Butler St. in Lawrenceville



Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Mind Cure issues Backlash LP from 'The Aarrghman' of Eide's

Written by Scott Mervis on .

aarghIf you were a regular at Eide’s Records back in the late ’80s, you’ll remember the store’s kind metal aficionado Danny “The Aarrghman” Macosko, who also had the column The Aarrghman’s Pit in the Warhammer zine and hosted The Aarrghman’s Pit live shows.

What you might not know is that Mr. Macosko, who died in 1995 from cystic fibrosis, fronted a metal band, a la Sabbath/Motorhead/Pentagram, called Backlash with Rob Tabachka (of Eviction), Bill Koblak and Shawn Usel. It released a cassette from a recording at Audiomation.

“I had heard about it over the years,” says Michael Seamans, owner of the Polish Hill-based Mind Cure Records. “Whenever I would ask people if they had a copy, they were shy about handing it out. One day I was getting a tattoo from Todd Porter [of Eviction] and he said, ‘I have it on my iPod. I could play it for you right now.’ ”

Backlash coverUpon hearing it, Mr. Seamans decided it rocked sufficiently (and it does) to release the Backlash songs as part of his series of reissues of classic Pittsburgh bands, which has included The Bats, The Modey Lemon and Real Enemy.

The six-song Backlash LP will be released on vinyl for the first time, with a download for six more demos. This is a different kind of project for Mind Cure, he says, in that Backlash didn’t play out much and wasn’t very well known in Pittsburgh.

But, he says, “Aarrghman is this legendary character from being this longtime Eide’s employee and all these guys are the quintessential record store crew. They’re what people think of when they think of an underground record store.”

There will be release party from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 20, at Saints and Sinners tattoo studio, 252 S. Highland Ave., Highland Park, for the Backlash vinyl as well as the new/old Eviction demo “Struggle with Society.”

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Drusky doubles down on apology, promises to help black artists

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Pittsburgh concert promoter Brian Drusky, of Drusky Entertainment, touched off accusations of racism in December of 2014 when he posted a series of tweets that made light of a demonstration by the local Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., incident and protests.

They were among the variety of “The Steelers lost last week. I’m going to lay down in the middle of grant street by the courthouse to protest!”

Upon being targeted by local black entertainers and activists, he removed the tweets, issued an apology and agreed to meet with them to find ways of making amends to the community.

As part of this effort, Drusky Entertainment donated more than $12,000 in the last year to the Afro-American Music Institute.

On Wednesday morning the promoter met with representatives of the local group Black Artist Ally Initiative, and prior to the Lauryn Hill concert at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Drusky issued the following statement:

“In December 2014, I made racist statements mocking the grief and outrage of black people who protested the loss of Black life at the hands of police violence.

Although I attempted to make amends, I realize now that surface platitudes and small gestures are not enough. Although I am deeply sorry, I realize that just saying sorry is not enough, that sustained and consistent action to combating racism in my own actions and in the actions of others is necessary to achieve healing and to build trust. As a white man that benefits from Black culture and artistry, I know that it is my responsibility to stand in solidarity with Black people, particularly the Black community in Pittsburgh, by devoting my resources as an entertainment professional and as a resident of Pittsburgh to creating true equity and inclusivity in the entertainment industry here. I call on the Pittsburgh arts community, particularly white arts organizations, to stand in solidarity with the Black arts community by committing to tangible acts of allyship that will shift the culture of entrenched racism that permeates Pittsburgh.

To demonstrate commitment and accountability to Black Pittsburgh artists, venues, promoters, and other support workers, Michael David Battle, Joy KMT, and Drusky Entertainment will:

Invite local Black artists to open up for Black headliners when the ability arises and compensate these artists.

Host 1 annual fundraiser in collaboration with Black artists to contribute to the Black Artist Ally Initiative

Collaborate with local Black artists to host a yearly summer academy for young Black artists and fund the resulting youth project(s)/efforts

Offer event tickets to Black youth

Work with local Black artists and promoters and utilize Black venues and support staff for events.”


Michael David Battle, artist and founding director at Garden of Peace Project, issued the statement:

"Yesterday evening I received a call on behalf of Brian Drusky. In the very recent past, Brian Drusky was held accountable for public statements that he made that undermined the lives of those protesting Black lives lost to State Violence. This was a continuation of that community conversation to address the tangible strides he is willing to make to show true solidarity with the Black Artist community. I invited him to meet with Joy KMT & me this morning in an effort to hold him accountable and take swift action and the first steps toward investing in Black artists and art in Pittsburgh.

Tonight, we have gathered with local Black artists to share the new commitments Drusky Entertainment has made to Black artists in Pittsburgh and investing in uplifting the narratives and art and expressions of Black artists. To truly invest and contribute to Black art and the lives and legacy of Black artist is to be in an act of resistance -- this takes radical and transformative action and a new way of doing things."

Poet-performance artist Joy KMT, who was also part of the BAAI meeting, issued her own statement:


“Black Artist Ally Initiative is a call to action for Drusky and white folks benefitting from Black art, Black labor, Black money, Black love, and Black resistance to be accountable to black artists, venues, and workers in the art and entertainment industry. Pittsburgh has a rich and deep Black Arts legacy that continues to this day. Drusky’s comments were deeply hurtful, but indicative of the casual anti-blackness that supports the structural violence that culminates in making Pittsburgh last on a list of 25 for quality of life for black people, one of the lowest life expectancy rates for black people in the nation, and one of the highest rates of poverty in the nation for black people. Black artists in Pittsburgh continue to be under resourced and undervalued, and Black people continue to live under the impact of entrenched racism, classism, and injustice, and black protest of injustice continues to be mocked and dismissed. This, too, is a Pittsburgh legacy and one that must be shifted. Today, Drusky Entertainment has committed to doing the work and being accountable to Black artists in the Pittsburgh community and to the Black community as a whole.

As a collective we are committed to continuing to foster spaces of transformative and radical inclusion. This public press statement serves as a tool of accountability. Together, we will share how we intend to use our collective gifts to transform and invest in Black artists.”


Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Daily Grind keeps grinding with 'I Did Those Things'

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Daily Grind hi-res photo credit Pat HoganPat Hogan photoWhile the Pittsburgh-based Wild Kindness/Misra label concentrates mostly on indie rock and Americana (with the likes of Harlan Twins, Grand Piano and Chet Vincent & The Big Bend), it saves a space for The Daily Grind, a crunchier band that harks back to the post-grunge era.

Inspired by the likes of Incubus, Arctic Monkeys and Muse, the friends from Pine-Richland High School formed the band in 2012, released the debut album “The Green Plan” in 2014 and took off on a 60-date national tour with the motto of “Stay Grinding.”

The Daily Grind, which features singer-guitarist Brad Hammer, guitarist Myles Mahoney, bassist Matt Majot and drummer Reid Campbell, returns now with a second blast of hard-driving alt-rock, “I Did Those Things.”

“We’ve grown up a lot,” Hammer says of this album. “We made a conscious decision to write more direct, relatable songs. We try not to take ourselves or the music too seriously, and I think spending so much time over the last couple years allowed us to enjoy the recording process more than when we first started the band. There was a lot more love in the room this time around.”

“I Did Those Things” was recorded at The Wilderness Recording Studio with producer J. Vega and then mastered by Kramer, the New York City producer known for his work with everyone from Galaxie 500 to Gwar.

“J went way out of his way to be around throughout the writing process and help guide us in the right direction,” the singer says. “He’s a fantastic listener and an even better idea man. Kramer made the whole thing congruent; it didn’t flow as well as it does now when it left the studio.”

The Daily Grind plays a release show on Friday at the James Street Speakeasy and then hits the road through late July on another cross-country, 50-plus date tour.

“We treat the bar and restaurant gigs during the week like a day job and play club shows on the weekends for exposure,” Hammer says. “It’s worked well for us in the past and we plan on another successful trip this time around. We’ve developed a nice rapport with local bands in other cities that we’re always excited to play with.”

He calls the new album “a stepping stone. It’s better than the first record, sonically and contextually, but I don’t see it being our crown jewel. The best is yet to come.”

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

The Rave-Ups 'Town + Country' will be reissued on July 8

Written by Scott Mervis on .


raveupsThe Rave-Ups 1985 debut album “Town + Country,” a classic in the alt-country/cowpunk genre, will get a long-awaited reissue from Omnivore Records on July 8.

As frontman Jimmer Podrasky noted on Facebook, “I wrote the liner notes for this reissue of a record that was an important part of my musical past. More importantly, a ‘lost’ Rave-Ups album is included in this package -- recordings that the band made with Los Lobos' Steve Berlin (and his partner Mark Linnett) and never saw the light of day. Hearing this stuff thirty years later is a real treat and I'm very thankful to Omnivore Recordings for making this possible.”

The Rave-Ups formed in 1979 while Podrasky, a Natrona Heights native, was attending Carnegie Mellon, and, after cutting their teeth in clubs like the Decade and Electric Banana with the other punk bands of the era, relocated to Los Angeles in the early ‘80s.

The band released two albums on Epic Records before calling it quits around 1990. Podrasky, after a long hiatus from the music world, returned with the solo album “The Would-Be Plans" in September 2013 and played his first Pittsburgh show in 24 years in July 2014.

"Town + Country," which has been out of circulation and almost impossible to find for decades, is the jewel of The Rave-Ups discography. This will be its first domestic release on CD. "It was only available on CD via imports...very EXPENSIVE imports," Podrasky says. "I never even owned one. The cool stuff is the unreleased material we recorded with Steve Berlin."

Here is the track listing:

Original Tracks

"Positively Lost Me"

"Remember (Newman's Lovesong)"

"Better World"

"Class Tramp"

"In My Gremlin"


"By The Way"

"Not Where You're At (But Where You Will Be)"

"You Ain't Goin Nowhere"



Bonus Tracks

"If I Had A Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (Fun Stuff demo)

"Nine Pound Hammer" (Live on Snap)

"Positively Lost Me" (Live on Snap)

"Square Hole"

"Train To Nowhere" (Early Version)

"The Rumor"

"Please Take Her (She's Mine)" (Early Version)

"Mickey Of Alphabet City" (Early Version)

"No No No"

"See You"

"Blue Carrot" (Early Version)


For more info, go to

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.