Print

Deutschtown Music Festival deadline nears

Written by Scott Mervis on .

dtownWe interrupt our regularly scheduled update on Kanye West for these words from the organizers of the Deutschtown Music Festival. From what we can tell everything below is true:


Musicians: If you or your band are interested in being a part of the 4th Annual Deutschtown Music Festival, the Band Submission Deadline is Monday, February 29, 2016.

Deutschtown Music Festival is a free community music and arts festival taking place on Saturday July 9, 2016 on the Northside. Over 125 bands will perform to upwards of 10,000 people in over 15 venues and 4 outdoor stages - all within walking distance of the East Ohio Street business district. The event features family-friendly activities and a stage in a city park and a two-block closed city street that will feature numerous food trucks and vendors.

For more information, or to submit your band application, visit the Deutschtown Music Festival 2016 Band Submission webpage.

 

Join the conversation:

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

'Gypsy in Me' rolls through the Parkway

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Bonnie

New exit on the Parkway West?

Construction warning from PennDot?

Nope. It's just a scene from the "Gypsy in Me," a single and video from Bonnie Raitt, promoting her new album, "Dig in Deep." The video, rolling along with her slide guitar, is a cross-country road trip with the lyrics, about the traveling life of a musician, flashing on signs and billboards.

This was likely shot when she came through Pittsburgh in 2013 for a show at Heinz Hall. She returns to the home of the PSO on March 23, having just released her 20th album. This one includes five originals, along with covers of Los Lobos' "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes," INXS's "Need You Tonight" and Joe Henry's "You've Changed My Mind."

Raitt got the national spotlight earlier this month, paying tribute to lost friend B.B. King on Grammys, and played it like the true veteran she is.

 

 

Join the conversation:

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

Kanye's attack on Bob Ezrin is another last straw

Written by Scott Mervis on .

kanye

Kanye West is a brilliant artist and producer who deserves to have won an album of the year Grammy, but he's made it virtually impossible to remain a fan.

 

Bob EzrinPromoAt a time when Donald Trump is on a presidential run acting the bully, Kanye is wreaking a similar havoc across the music world.

You know the history with Taylor Swift, from the MTV Video Music Awards to his misogynistic attack on "Life of Pablo": "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."

January brought the brutal 17-point Twitter rant against Wiz Khalifa, along with the fighting words, "I own your child!!!!" His tweets were so rapid-fire it was as if he had them ready to go on Google Docs. Wiz has always been a peaceful cat who doesn't pick fights with anyone, and this was all over a stupid misunderstanding. Kanye never directly apologized other than to tweet, "God's dream ... Never speak on kids again ... all love ... all blessings."

So much for "God's dream." Now he's attacked Bob Ezrin on Twitter the same way: "Your kids are ashamed of their dad... Sorry for speaking about kids... but could you imagine if you were Bob Ezrin's kids..."

"Sorry" doesn't cut it. And yeah, I can imagine Bob Ezrin's kids working up a good deal of pride for their father's brilliant career, which includes production on most of the Alice Cooper albums, Pink Floyd's "The Wall," Lou Reed's "Berlin," Kiss' "Destroyer," the first Peter Gabriel solo album, Aerosmith's "Get Your Wings" and, more recently, work with Thirty Seconds to Mars, U2, Green Day and Taylor.

Ezrin's crime was to vent about Kanye's social media madness in a note to music insider Bob Lefsetz's newsletter. Ezrin notes, "Sure, he made some great music for himself and others. But in spite of what the aspirationally-cool media keeps saying about him, unlike other creators in his genre like Jay-Z, Tupac, Biggie or even M.C. Hammer for that matter, it's unlikely that we'll be quoting too many of Kanye's songs 20 years from now. He didn't open up new avenues of public discourse like NWA, or introduce the world to a new art form like Grandmaster Flash, or even meaningfully and memorably address social issues through his music like Marshall, Macklemore and Kendrick. In my opinion, his productions are his best work - and I admit I'm jealous of several of them - but I don't think he's on quite the same level as Timbaland and Rick Rubin among several others. His songwriting - meaning the stuff with melodies - is sophomoric at best. I was embarrassed for Sir Paul - one of the greatest Artists of our era by their collaboration, though it was pointed out to me that this got him his highest chart position in decades. So I guess he didn't mind. But I kind of did!"

He goes on to say, "Instead Kanye's greatest achievements have been in the form of excessive behavior, egomaniacal tantrums and tasteless grandstanding."

Kanye went to Twitter late Tuesday night to ask, "Has anybody ever heard of Bob Ezrin???" The short answer is "yes," for anybody with a working knowledge of rock. But producers didn't make a fuss about themselves in Bob Ezrin's heyday. They didn't have Twitter. They didn't go on stage. They worked behind the scenes and allowed the artists to get the glory.

Two tweets later, Kanye, who recently declared that he didn't want white publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork to review his work (despite their positive reviews of his new album), offered new conditions on who can address him: "I'm tired of old people that have no connection with anything trying to comment on music!" and "Bob please never speak in public again... you are everything that is wrong with the old guard ..."

Yeah, it's too bad Bob Ezrin doesn't have any connection with anything.

After the family attack, Kanye wrapped it up with "God bless the fools ... all positive vibes!"

Yeah, he's a fool all right.

Being a fan often requires having to separate the art from the artist. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. As much as I respect Kanye the artist, I can't imagine wanting to listen to anything he's connected to right now.

 

Join the conversation:

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

Kurt Vile rallies late in the set at Mr. Smalls

Written by Scott Mervis on .

VileWhoever was running sound at Mr. Smalls Monday night clearly decided that the leader of Kurt Vile and the Violators was not in fact Kurt Vile but the bass player.


Jesse Trbovich and Rob Laakso, who switch off in that role, had the upper hand early in the set, as the bottom of the mix overpowered the top.


It was not the best start in general for the Philly indie band’s long-awaited return to Pittsburgh in front of a sold-out crowd. The mix was bad and the energy sluggish through the first half-dozen songs -- including “Dust Bunnies,” “I’m An Outlaw” and “Pretty Pimpin’” from his chilled-out sixth album “b'lieve i'm goin down” -- making the door seem really appealing on a Monday night.


Although the crowd was polite, there was a sense of unease in the room, like, “Isn’t Kurt Vile supposed to come in and kick ass?”


That eventually happened, beginning with his shredding guitar solo on “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day,” waking up the room with it. By then, the mix had evened out, bringing Vile to the forefront on the grinding “KV Crimes” and through the delicate finger-picking on solo pieces “Stand Inside” and “Dead Alive.” For his handiwork, he paraded out an enviable collection of acoustics and electrics.


Vile delivers most of his offbeat lyrics (sample: “Then I proceeded to brush some stranger’s teeth/But they were my teeth, and I was weightless”) in a stoner drawl and is practically invisible on stage, with long, scraggly hair hanging over his face.


Late in the set, the Violators dipped further into 2009’s “Childish Prodigy” for the pummeling “Hunchback” (think Dino Jr. doing Sabbath) and the noisy, speeding “Freak Train,” punctuated by Vile’s whoops and hollers. The show-closer put us back on the rails for a sludgy “Downbound Train,” courtesy of the Boss.

 

In the end, it was all worth the trip -- and the ringing in the ears.

Join the conversation:

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

Savages roaring back to Mr. Smalls in May

Written by Scott Mervis on .

SAVAGES

Every now and then (not really that often, to be honest), people will say, "Scott, you seem to only like old bands. Who do you like that's current?"

Well, near the top of the list would be Savages, the British post-punk band that plays with the dark fury of Patti Smith, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gang of Four, etc.

The all-female quartet played to small but ecstatic crowd at Mr. Smalls in September 2013, touring behind debut album "Silence Yourself." It was one of the PG's Top 10 concerts of the year (according to me).

A week after I complained that the current tour was skipping Pittsburgh, like many others, Opus One Productions comes up with a return date to Smalls of May 17. Tickets are only $20 advance; $20 door and go on sale Friday via ticketweb.com.

Savages just dropped a second album, "Adore Life," that sounds every bit as great and intense as the debut.

If you adore punk, post-punk, British rock, life itself, don't miss it. 

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

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