A free monthly open mic night for all performers. Signup for Performers begins at 7pm. Starving Artist Special from 7pm-8pm featuring half off food, $2 Yuengling Drafts, Free Coffee & Tea. Ages: +21
Club Cafe's open stage is one of Pittsburgh's longest running and most revered open mic events for performers of all genres. Fashioned after some of the high profile and wildly successful open stages in Nashville, New York and LA, Club Cafe's open stage provides artists with the chance to perform on a world renowned stage while fostering a friendly and supportive environment enabling performers to network with their peers, attract new audiences and extend their reach.
This month's host is Keith Gill Jr.
Piebald with Special Guests Same, Naked Spirit - Presented by Opus One & Emo Night PGH
It's been five years since Jesse Malin last released an album, and that only upped the stakes for this one. New York Before the War is a hymn to everything Malin believes in most: respecting your roots, grabbing the future by its throat, and creating a soundtrack for a life filled with meaning. None of those things is easy to do, especially now. In fact, that's what the war in the title is all about: the battle to create and hold onto what's worthwhile even as so many forces, both internal and in the world outside, conspire to sweep it away. At the very top of that list is music.
"I wanted to make a record that encompassed everything I've been through since I started playing hardcore when I was twelve or thirteen," Malin says. Two years ago he had completed an album "out in the country" at White Star Studio near Charlottesville, VA. But then he realized it really wasn't finished. "Late last December, just back from a tour, I found myself sitting in my studio apartment in an old, crooked building that had the words THE WAR boldly painted on its side," Malin says. "In the silence of the holidays, away from family and friends, I found myself questioning everything I believed in. Looking out the window at a broken world where our values, culture and art have become instantly disposable, I felt lost and alienated, but still yearning for something more. Turning to my music, I tried to carve out a place where I could once again exist, and I sat down and wrote the rest of this record."
He ended up with close to forty songs. "I've always been a fan of the album as an art form," Malin says, and New York Before the War is a unified statement. It opens with "The Dreamers," a haunting ballad that nearly became the album's title track. Resting on an elegant piano figure, the song evokes both the alienation and the sense of deep connection that travel can bring. Wherever you are and whomever you meet, "the blood still runs red," Malin sings. That sense of doubleness, that emotional complexity â carving your own path but desperate for connection to a larger community -- runs throughout the album. Darker meditations like "She's So Dangerous" and "Bar Life" nestle next to rockers like "Freeway" (which features a blistering solo by the MC5's Wayne Kramer) and "Turn Up the Mains" (with Alejandro Escovedo on backing vocals).
Even within individual songs a sense of openness and possibility sometimes feels inextricable from the lure of destruction. In "Death Star" a woman gains a wealthy lover who "dresses to the right," but loses her soul. The jauntily upbeat "Bent Up" is about a friend and former band mate who died of a drug overdose. It's a roses-and-thorns kind of thing. The very qualities that make you compelling and creative can spiral you down. And, as with the lure of technology today, things that feel good and make your life seem easier can also destroy you.
"I always thought of music as a lifestyle, a place to exorcise your demons, connect with others and rejoice in the lonely places," Malin says. "Somehow there's a romance and an energy to all of this."
Peter Buck contributes a vintage R.E.M.-style guitar part to "I Would Do It For You," a tale of personal loyalty filled with longing and an aching sense of conviction. "That's my favorite and maybe most honest lyric on the record," Malin says. "It's about someone from your past who tracks you down and needs something from you, and because of your history, you can't say no. I never say what it is â whether it's a crime, drugs, a sexual relationship."
Malin finished New York Before the War at the Magic Shop in Soho and Flux Studios on Avenue A . Players include guitarist Derek Cruz, who co-produced the New York sessions with Malin; bassist Catherine Popper, who has played with Ryan Adams and Jack White; and drummers Randy Schrager (Scissor Sisters) and Paul Garisto, who played on Malin's debut solo album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, and with the Psychedelic Furs. Guitarist Don Dilego played on and produced the sessions in Virginia.
"New York Before the War is a metaphor for surviving in an ever-changing, rapidly desensitized world, while trying to find a way to live truly," Malin says. "It's not one particular war, but a global sentiment made for these times. It's a daily battle to keep the human spirit alive. Things are moving fast and forward, and this is my life right now." â Anthony DeCurtis
(Early Show) Tristen with Special Guests We Speak In Colors and Arlo Aldo
"Some artists are interested in being complicated, it's almost like they're speaking another language just to the connoisseur of the art," says Tristen. "I have no interest in that. My style is not to be exclusive. It's to be inclusive. I'm trying to be as clear as possible. I've always been interested in the purest form of the idea, so that it can communicate massively."
That theme is at the core of Tristen's music - music that is smart but accessible, meticulously constructed but undeniably infectious.
A native of South Side Chicago turned longtime Nashville resident, Tristen has released two critically acclaimed solo records - 2011's Charlatans at the Garden Gate and 2013's CAVES
- and toured extensively as a member of Jenny Lewis' backing band. The folk-oriented Charlatans earned her praise as "Nashville's best-kept secret" (The Boston Globe), and the more synth-pop-oriented CAVES featured "tales of greed, alienation and heartache, made poignant but never saccharine by their electronically enhanced surroundings" (Nashville Scene).
Tristen has been singing since she could speak, and writing and recording her own songs since she was a teenager. Now an established touring musician with finely tuned chops and a knack for lashing exceptional melodies to her singularly poetic lyrics, she travels with a practiced backing trio of top-notch Nashville sidemen. Together, they bring Tristen's lush, expertly crafted arrangements to life, giving the singer room to brandish her outsized vocals and win audiences with her powerful stage presence - performances that channel the rock 'n' roll eclecticism of David Bowie and the creative prowess of Dolly Parton.
"Performing is my favorite thing to do in the world," she says. "It's like meditation for me. I let go. Ultimately, performing is about the audience, the singer and the band, and the shared experience. And at the center is truth and beauty."
In 2016, Tristen released her first book of poetry, Saturnine, a collection of 18 poems that span from the "green carpet hills by San Francisco" to the "cold hard streets of Chicago" and brim with a kaleidoscope of characters. Her third album, Sneaker Waves, will be released July 7 via Modern Outsider Records.
(Late Show) Charm and Chain with Special Guest Stationary Pebbles
Charm & Chain is a four piece original groove-rock band based out of Pittsburgh, PA. Beginning in late 2012 as singer/songwriter Laurie Kudis's (keys/vocals) solo project with the release of 'Heliacal Rise', a full band rapidly assembled and began writing and performing locally. Eric Koester (bass/vocals) and Ben Sukenik (drums/vocals) were integral in defining the sound and in writing new material for the release of 'I Know What You Are' (2014) and along with Laurie, form the current line-up. Eric DiFiore (guitar/vocals) joined the group in 2015 and the chemistry between the four was instant. The members of Charm & Chain challenge and inspire each other musically and feed off of each others' energy and intensity. Pulling from a deep vault of influences, Charm & Chain likes to explore spacey psychedelic grooves, earthy rock jams, shimmery and engaging melodies, and provocative lyrics. Expect a new, original LP release from Charm & Chain in the near future!
Amos Lee/Lake Street Dive - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore
Old Salt Union is known for playing music by their own set of rules. While the men who make up the group are not complete rebels, they are certainly focused on exposing people to a purer, more exciting, and more original form of music. Drawing influence from Bill Monroe, Sam Bush and Del McCoury, to jazz great Bill Evans and Composer Danny Elfman, itâs obvious the group has a unique and broad genetic make-up. What makes Old Salt Union special is their ability to further explore the jazz and blues roots of bluegrass in a mature and refreshing manner. With in-depth musical compositions, a catchy hook, and a high- energy metaphorical punch to the gut, they are truly front runners in the new generation of string music.
Established in 2012, Old Salt Union recorded their debut album âWestern Skiesâ just a few months after inception. With the album independently released in March of 2013, and a tour schedule consisting of nearly 200 shows in the coming calendar year, it was clear the boys were on the move. Old Salt Union stretched from coast to coast, exposing both traditional and progressive grass fans to a new, complex, high-energy, St. Louis style string music.
Traveling consistently in 2014-15â shined light on new inspiration and new subject matter for OSU. The long months on the road provided a new perspective on writing that showed its weary eyes on their second full length release entitled âBridge.â Released in August of 2014, Bridge acted as both a figurative and literal path home. The album revealed Old Salt Union morphing into the band they were always meant to be. Dramatic chord progressions, thoughtful arrangements, and the constant longing of a familiar bed and a warm home resonated with people all across the nation. Winning both âBest Bluegrass Bandâ and âBest Country Bandâ in the Riverfront Times âBest of St. Louisâ edition, proved they were still peddling in the right direction. This year of expansion found the boys on grand stages near and far. From appearing at the Bluegrass Underground, Music City Roots, John Hartford Memorial Festival, ROMP, Stagecoach, Freshgrass, and Yonder Mountain String Bandâs Harvest Festival, to sharing the stage with Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Travelinâ McCourys, Jeff Austin Band, and Ricky Skaggs, Old Salt Union still felt they had much more to prove.
Their new EP entitled âCut & Runâ was released in March of 2016. A brief, 6-song, glimpse into the new, polished, and well-executed style of Old Salt Union. Finally finding their bearings and learning to weave the genre crossing compositions and heartache infused songwriting in a complete and wrapped package, they are ready to expose the people to what Old Salt Union was always meant to sound and feel like. With 30+ songs on the backburner, a new single produced by Alison Brown, and a full length to be recorded in the winter of 2016, the men of OSU will be touring full time until they settle down to record. The ever-evolving sound of Old Salt Union has always been based on the idea of forward progression. Individually, and as a unit, the music must continue to inspire and move them to a new destination. With the release of the new EP, they have 30+ dates on the calendar and intend on continuing to unveil their sound and energy to any and everyone who will listen. Always confident in their live performances, you certainly mustnât miss an opportunity to see them live.
Glass Animals with Special Guest Little Dragon - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore
Jonathan Byrd is a preacher's son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd "one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years."
Multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. On stage and after hours, he jammed with members of Bon Jovi and the legendary Steve Cropper. At the age of 24, Waken left music to pursue primitive skills and through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000 with an eleven-pound pack. Returning to music years later Johnny joined theatre troupe Paperhand Puppet Intervention, contributing to scores for nine shows and winning 4 Indy Awards for best original music.
Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboy are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists. Between heartbreaking ballads and hell-raising sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show.
(Late Show) Action Camp (CD Release Show) with Silence and Hearken
After spending 10 years touring and performing heavily as a duo, Action Camp's Maura Jacob and Bengt Alexsander
dramatically shift the band's core with the addition of seasoned multi-instrumentalist Joe T (Park Plan, St. Dude) on drums. This EP marks his first official output under the Action Camp banner and a notable shift for the trio toward a minimal post punk sound at the root of their "doom and harmony" approach.
Jimmy Herring & the Invisible Whip with Special Guests Derek Woods Band
The Tillers got their start in August 2007 when they started thumping around with some banjos and guitars and a big wooden bass. Their earliest gigs were for coins and burritos on the city's famous Ludlow Street in the district of Clifton. The songs they picked were mostly older than their grandparents. Some came from Woody Guthrie, some were southern blues laments, and many were anonymous relics of Appalachian woods, churches, riverboats, railroads, prairies, and coal mines.
Their look didn't fit the stereotype. They were clearly recovering punk rockers with roots in city's west side punk rock and hardcore scene. The punk influence gave their sound a distinctive bite, setting them apart from most other folk acts- a hard-driving percussive strum and stomp that brought new pulse and vinegar to some very old songs. But their musical range soon proved itself as they floated from hard-tackle thumping to tender graceful melody, all the while topped by Oberst and Geil's clear tenor harmonies.
They began picking up weekly gigs around the city's bar scene. It didn't take long before their signature treatment of classic folk songs became the preferred versions of Cincinnati locals. Their audiences swelled, growing into an assortment of grey-haired mechanics, neo-hippies, farmers, punkers, professors, and random strays all stomping, clapping, singing, and belting outbursts of âJohn Henry!â âDarlin' Corey!â Ever since, the band has come to each show with the same energy. They are magnetic showmen, mature musicians, and colorful storytellers.
The Tillers have since won over Cincinnati's bar and festival scene, and launching tours with tireless momentum. They were awarded CityBeat Magazine's Cincinnati Entertainment Award for best Folk and Americana act in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 & 2015. Their relentless gigging has taken them throughout the East coast, the Midwest and West, the Appalachian south and to the UK and Ireland opening for the St.Louis crooner, Pokey LaFarge. In the summer of 2009, veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw featured the Tillers on a documentary about US Route 50. Brokaw showcased the group's song âThere is Road (Route 50)â as a testimony to the highway's role as a connective tissue of the nation.
Musically, the band wears many hats. Their sound has proven to be an appropriate fit with a wide range of musical styles- traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock and anything else they might run into. They have shared the stage with a broad swath of national touring acts, ranging from renowned folk legends such as Doc Watson, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Douglas, Iris Dement, Pokey LaFarge and The Carolina Chocolate Drops to rambunctious rock daredevils like the Legendary Shack Shakers.
Always moving, the Tillers continue to enter new territory. Their musical growth can be heard through the scape of their many releases, 2008's debut record Ludlow Street Rag, 2010's By The Signs, 2011's Wild Hog in the Woods, 2012's Live from the Historic Southgate House, 2013's Hand On The Plow and many more bootleg releases. The band's lineup has also taken new shape. In February 2010, long-time bassist Jason Soudrette fondly parted ways with the group, being replaced by Aaron Geil, brother of guitarist Sean.
In 2015 the band added fiddler Joe Macheret (Joe's Truck Stop/Urban Pioneers) to the ranks.
Recalibrating has not slowed their pace.
They continue to plot their travels around the map, electrifying new places and making new friends wherever they go. From place to place, they carry with them more instruments, new songs, and funnier stories. They are Cincinnati's traveling minstrels. Expect to hear from them soon.