Thanks to Chimera Magazine I was able to be part of one of the growing number of events happening in Pittsburgh’s rapidly rising music scene, Brewtal Beerfest 2. This event was so big that it was held at both stages of Mr. Smalls – The Funhouse and The Theatre. Between the two stages of this well known venue, I witnessed something amazing. No, I’m wrong. I wasn’t just a witness, I was a participant in one of the greatest shows I’ve been to. It wasn’t just the ever changing offering of metal, mosh pits and camaraderie, either. I saw an audience eager from the start, casting off an almost electric vibe, gathering at stages and going between them to see what was offered on a large scale.
For those who haven’t been to events like these, early afternoon start times often draw smaller crowds, building as the night goes on. This time, the crowd was waiting for the first band and by the end of the night, Mr. Small’s theater, with it’s Cathedral like ceilings, various levels of balcony areas overlooking the stage, and stained glass windows, was packed tightly with people who shared similar smiles and participated with abandon as the show went on. They packed tightly around the stages, raising hands and horns in excitement, calling out their support of the bands. The people there fed off of each other’s love of music, sending it to the stages and feeling it returned tenfold by those who came to play. Death-locks flying, lights illuminating the bands and the faces of the audience as they reached a fever pitch that made me pause for a moment in my photography. As I look around me, I realized with sadness that one day I won’t be such an active member of something this soul changing, and then smiled at the knowledge that until I’m on my deathbed, no one will drag me away from something this exciting, even if I’m a little old lady watching from the doorway. It’s these moments that lovers of music dream of, these times that I’m so happy to be able to record the events and try to paint pictures through those and my writing to bring you just a taste of what I felt. What we all felt. These are the moments in which musicians have the power to take us all out of life and into something extraordinary.
This wasn’t any regular music event, mind you. At the door those in attendance were given sampling glasses to check out some of the best brews in Pittsburgh, some that haven’t even been put on the market yet. Booths ringed the back portion of the largest area where people lined up to try some of the best beer Pittsburgh has to offer… and if you know Pittsburgh – that’s a great thing for beer lovers! On the upstairs patio were samples of jams, hot sauce, and more from a local company that uses the brews in our town to make many of their products. Beer, food, music, joy. There is nothing that speaks more of this city than these, unless of course the whole place had been decorated in Black and Gold. Merchandise for bands was everywhere, much to the fans delight. When not on stage the musicians wandered from stage to stage to support their fellow bands. Dethlehem was the most obvious in their medieval gear however, I saw many approached by fans and asked to sign memorabilia or to thank them for a latest release. People came in support of their friends, some came in support of the bands they loved. All came to support music.
With names like See you Next Tuesday, Solarburn, Victims of Contagion, and Fit For An Autopsy, some might have thought this would turn into a free for all once beer was mixed in but this is the type of place, and the type of crowd, that is a music lovers dream. Yes, mosh pits happened everywhere! Not the kind that erupt into violence, but the type in which people with smiles plastered to their faces moved to music because they were moved by the music. Even those outside of that ring of movement laughed with delight at seeing such a thing happening. Cheers from the balcony were the type you’d expect to find in a venue three times this size. New friends were made, as were new fans. Before the headlining act appeared the trophy was given to Greywalker, representing Penn Brewery, for most votes. It wasn’t really a competition though. That was just a side note. No one lost anything that night… well… maybe a bit of hearing for a few days. Between screeching guitars, thrumming bass, drum kits pounding and growls mixed with melody, each band at this event, be it Video tapes or Post Mortal Possession, won this round.
As the night ended Byzantine and finally Baroness took the stage amid the bright lights in air heavy with anticipation. Leading this mass of music to it’s peak in the old church on the corner. Air hot and people pressed against each other as they all tried to make room for the others to be part of this strange wonderland of enchantment and brotherhood. The things that stayed with me were the feelings of that night, even more than the music. While no one would argue that there were certain bands more well known, there was no order of things to state who was who. When Baroness took the stage, they gained my respect. They made no fuss, no announcements of who they were, no setting themselves apart from the rest of this lovely insanity. They walked onto that stage with a sly smile and gleam in their eyes at the frenzied crowd before them and broke out into the music that made them scream. On this night, all were equal. All were brothers. On this night, something magical happened through a mixture of metal and love.
Photo credit to our own Jana Lee Macheca, who was happily working under Chimera Magazine for the night.
Find the complete photo album here:
Find the bands here:
Special thanks to Chimera Magazine for helping to support music happening in Pittsburgh!!! Give these guys a like, too cause you’ll be seeing more of Pittsburgh covered there!!