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Benefit concert to support Girls Rock! Pittsburgh

August 30, 7PM
In its first year of operation in the Pittsburgh area, Girls Rock!—a national organization dedicated to empowering female youths to explore their creativity through learning rock n' roll—has established itself as as a uniquely-designed arts-non-profits that continues to grow their participation numbers.

Young women looking to explore the rock god within can receive guidance from such prominent Pittsburgh-based music figures as Treelady Studio recording engineer, and accomplished cellist, Madeleine Campbell; and Harlan Twins vocalist/guitarist Carrie Battle.

Now, as the organization begins to enter their second year, they're hosting a benefit concert along with local arts non-profit Help Your Homies and record label Cool Shoes at Assemble in the Penn Avenue Arts District featuring a lineup of exlcusively female led-bands. 

Headlining the show is the Philadelphia-based 90s alternative rock nostalgists Amanda X, whose debut full-length album Amnesia was just released at the end of July. While the group's most obvious influences touch bands like the art-punk brats Pixies and slack rock icons Pavement, the trio comprised of Cat Park on guitar, Tiff Yoon on drums and Kat Bean on bass, make effortlessly cool rock and roll with a healthy feminist streak. The local bands rounding out the bill include the garage folk trio Roulette Waves, the ukelele-centric one woman show Toy Life, and electronic pop group Swampwalk.

Don't miss this chance to support an amazing local non-profit while listening to some of the best female indie rockers the region has to offer. (5125 Penn, Garfield, Assemble)

The Brew Gentlemen Garden Party

August 30, 4PM
Braddock-based micro brewery The Brew Gentlemen is notable because, along with Kevin Sousa's Superior Motors restaurant, they are the second high-profle, destination-friendly, food related business to open in Braddock over the past year.

They've only been on the scene since May, but already have four beers on tap ready for consumers to try in their tap room and lounge, including their Rapid Fire Protoype (RFP) series of experimental, one off beers. To celebrate the release of their 13th RFP, which happens to be a warm weather seasonal cucmber wheat beer, The Brew Gentlemen are hosting a garden party that aims to be "a big end-of-summer, vegetable-themed blowout" while "celebrating the momentum that’s been building in Braddock over the last couple of years."

The event takes place in the Brew Gentlemen's parking lot and will feature a slew of food vendors including the likes of Kevin Sousa, who will be preparing appetizers with vegetables from Braddock Farms, the PGH Taco Truck, Bar Marco, the Burgh Bites Cart and Gyros N'@. The event will also feature fresh bread from Braddock's community oven, urban garden info from the Pittsburgh Gardening Project, t-shirts thanks to Ink Division, and music courtesy of DJ Doug North Cook.

For more information on the Brew Gentlemen Garden Party, head on over to their website at www.brewgentlemen.com. (512 Braddock Ave, Braddock, The Brew Gentlemen)



 

Washed Out stops by Mr. Small's

August 27, 8PM
Back in the halcyon days of 2009, we were at the height of what could be called (or what I'm calling) the music blog revolution. With the prevelence of blogging platforms like Blogger, Wordpress and even Tumblr, it seemed like anyone with even a passing interest in music was fastidiously keeping up with and posting the latest leaked mp3s, videos and general public relations ephemera that music journalists had been sorting through for years.

It was in this crucible that a nascent genre called "chillwave," or "glo-fi," emerged and soon dominated the indie rock/underground music zeitgeist. Artists like Panda Bear, Toro y Moi and Neon Indian were crafting analog, synth-driven, 80s-inflected, dance music that usually sounded like it was coming from a warped cassette tape that had been stuck in your older brother's '88 Civic since the mid-nineties.

It was the music of hot, hazy days and thick millienial nostalgia, full of garbled melodies and Tangerine Dream-ripped kaleidoscopic synth riffs that seemed to be dripping like melted wax from the speakers. No artist proved to be more important to chillwave, arguably the first fully internet formed music subgenre to gain siginificant attention from the music press, than Georgia-native Ernest Greene, otherwise known as Washed Out. His bedroom-recorded, debut, semi-album Life of Leisure was basically patient zero of chillwave, possessing one slow-burning, lo-fi, gauzy synth paean after another (including Portlandia theme song "Feel it All Around.").

What followed were two albums (2011's Within and Without and 2013's Paracosm) that stripped away many of the amateurish recording trappings that defined the early chillwave sound and atmosphere. All that remained was Greene's seemingly uncanny ability to compose swirls of keyboards, synths and samples into eternal summer music that was all but impossible to listen to once the first signs of fall appeared. 

Paracosm in particular should be the defacto music for cruise ships, full of reggae drum beats and sunny, electronic woodwinds popping in and out of the mix. Tracks like "It All Feels Right" and "Don't Give Up" worked perfectly as a late afternoon swoon and cool evening cocktail respectively. 

Now, as Washed Out rolls into Mr. Small's during what is basically the last week of the summer, I can imagine very few bands able to send us off into the pleasant crisp of the fall and the soul-deadening polar vortex of the winter in better fashion. (400 Lincoln Avenue, Milvale, Mr. Small's)

The Pajama Men get weird at City Theatre

August 27, 7PM
Albuquerque, New Mexico natives Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez call themselves The Pajama Men. They perform Monty Python-esque character-based comedy on a bare stage while wearing their pajamas. They usually enjoy stringing together sketches with little rhyme or reason and fewer transitions.

Occasionally during their performances, you get the feeling their comedy is made for the most banal of tastes in humor, but there's an unnerving undercurrent running through their overacted vignettes that seems to stretch and contort their writing in unusual ways. At the risk of projecting a little too much on their work, it's as if they seem determined push their performance into a realm of almost abstract silliness, like the skit in which they portray two southern, middle-aged women shooting the breeze who have a habit of slowly lapsing into insanely polite laughing fits that devolve into prolonged spells of rabid barking.


That skit slides quickly, without pause, into a riff featuring two men ogling a butt of unknown origin. Their catcalls grow increasingly absurd ("That ass is so nice, if you were getting picked on in school, that ass would probably stick up for you.") that any hint of misogynism gets eviscerated on its way through the looking glass.

Allen and Chavez 's comedy relies on the manipulation of the viewer's awareness of sketch comedy's rhythms. There are no punch-lines, there are no set-ups, there is only the duo's obedient arsenal of characters who are prepared to go insane in order to make you laugh.  For ticket information, visit the City Theatre's website at 
www.citytheatrecompany.org. (1300 Bingham Street, South Side, City Theatre)
 
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Society for Contemporary Craft

2100 Smallman St
412-261-7003
www.contemporarycraft.org

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