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Iron Maiden are my most treasured band bar none, so expect some bias in this review, but instead of being euphoric about seeing them this past Saturday night, I was a nervous wreck. Would I have a problem getting into the venue? Would their ticketless anti-scalper entry procedure thwart me? Would my old iPhone 5c betray me (it’s no longer compatible with the Ticketmaster mobile app)? Would I get a decent vantage point in PPG...

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Summertime is always the best for concerts. Why? Because it invites opportunities to catch memorable shows such as the one I attended Sunday night. On tour right now are three of the Alternative Rock’s most talented artists… Bad Wolves, Asking Alexandria and Papa Roach. Currently the trio is on this summer’s “Who Do You Trust?” tour and I’d like to say if you have never any one or all of these bands then go and...

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On a night when many in Pittsburgh were attending Breaking Benjamin, I was at a small venue, Get Hip, for a DIY show with three bands, one stage, no genres. Sometimes you have to go back to the roots of where you felt the pull of music to have the best experiences. National shows are like the Wizard of Oz in his chamber with lights and smoke – but if you pull back the curtain...

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One could say that nascent  promoter Steel & Bone Productions has a Marshall Plan in store for the Pittsburgh underground metal scene. To kick off their crusade, we were given a seven-act Saturday night showcase at Cattivo featuring a number of bands that played last year’s Migration 2 Festival, allowing fans to sample what they may have missed out on or relive it if they attended it. Note: Migration returns in 2020. Abysme, a local act...

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The Keynote Cafe in Jeannette, PA started twelve years ago because the owner Jill Sorrels wanted to hear more music. The last Saturday in June was the venue’s final show. Jill had decided it was time to retire. The show started at noon and there was act after act continuously until after midnight.  Even though the venue is in a small town in southwestern PA, the amount of talent that played the last day was...

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In October of last year, golden-throated warrior angel Deb Levine appeared at Ventura, California’s fourth annual Frost and Fire Festival as a performer with her remarkable band Lady Beast. It gave her an idea for a throwback metal festival to be held in the Pittsburgh area, one where the sounds of early thrash, power, speed, and New Wave of British Heavy Metal would be celebrated and elevated a la Germany’s Keep It True or Chicago’s...

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Did you know that one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds? There is probably a good chance that someone you know has been impacted by this tragedy. It’s predicted that by the end of 2020, this number will increase to a person every 20 seconds. This concert at the Spirit in Pittsburgh was to raise awareness about this rising epidemic. These five talented groups of artists entertained the crowd with their diverse styles of...

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Robert Collins is equal parts Angry Anderson, Bon Scott, and Howard Stern, and the ex-Dirty Charms crooner has a new joint you need to be schooled on. They’re called Royal Honey, and if you like your rock hard, a little red, sleazy, greasy, and vintage, I regret to inform you that you missed a right corker of a homegrown jam if you didn’t catch their record release shindig at Howler’s this past Saturday night. The...

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  The morbid Yakuza known as Church of Misery have been at large for around 24 years, with only bassist Tatsu Mikami remaining since the day they were born in blood and decided to dedicate their careers to musically documenting the lives and crimes of the very real ghouls that have walked among us. These samurai of doom were to play Pittsburgh once before in 2013 only to be halted by visa restrictions, making this...

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On the seventh of June, the greater Pittsburgh area gained a new concert venue tailored towards locals. The inaugural show at Broken Plow combined the efforts of First Angel Media, Three Rivers Music Therapy, Creatures and Creep Rods, and Broken Plow Western Martial Arts, and acted as a benefit for Soothing Sensations Music Therapy Groups. The venue itself is located off of route 28 in Creighton, PA. The building was once used as a church,...

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  When the spidery riffage and bombast of Coheed and Cambria’s “The Dark Sentencer” clashed with the spiraling mist and blustery wind of an unseasonably gloomy and crisp June evening, I was reminded of how formidable this prog-metal band is and how ferocious and proud they are as a live act as they eschewed their lighter, more syrupy material almost completely. Even poppier fare such as “A Favor House Atlantic” possessed tremendous bite as leader...

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Slough Feg have no parallel in modern metal. They take the obscure gems of the NWOBHM and use them to build new suits of armor while lead by a philosopher/axe warrior/brainac cult leader. I was both mesmerized and astonished by Slough Feg at 2014’s edition of the Alehorn of Power festival in Chicago. Meeting frontman/guitarist Mike Scalzi was like having a brush with a hero of myth. Trying to photograph him was like trying to...

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For forty years on, since the halcyon New Wave Of British Heavy Metal era, a movement that spawned only a handful of superstars, there has been a English-borne act plying their trade sporadically through touring or recording like errant paladins searching for honor more than fortune. They never reached the heights of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, or even Diamond Head, and their line-ups have been too numerous to keep track of, bassist Lee Payne...

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One must bathe in blood every so often to find purity of purpose. Such was this encounter… Hulking vocalist/guitarist/leader Ethan Lee McCarthy sees demons. As the leader of Relapse alumni Denver sludge/doom act Primitive Man, he has seen visions of hell and is only…an early man, a Neanderthal blessed with high intelligence and immortality from a meteorite. Those horrors danced before his eyes at Brillobox, a Lawrenceville bar/club/hipster haven that was once a darkened neighborhood...

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Heads old and young were bobbing blissfully on a wet, unseasonably chilly Monday evening in Baldwin, a quiet Pittsburgh suburb, to the tunes of progressive, power, and thrash, Metal Church leading the brigade with their fusion of all. Ellwood City’s spray paint vandals Whitethrash cast the first rock with a sardonic and fun set of Nuclear Assault/S.O.D. cherrybomb worship that sufficiently stoked appetites. Locals Storm Dragon were hampered a bit by a bad mix, but...

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Cattivo, an almost unnoticeable bar in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood was the site of a punk/metal uprising the other evening. Call it “crossover” or thrash or plain old punk, this Friday night gig was one of the most unhinged I’ve ever attended. Iron Reagan, a side project formed by alumni of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour, came barreling out of Richmond, Virginia’s hotbed of a metal scene in 2012, and since then have been burning it...

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  This was a night for those who miss hooks, clean vocals, and melodies in their metal, the curmudgeons who gripe about the supposed drought of “good” current bands. In 2014, some friends and I managed to catch Chicago’s High Spirits; once in Pittsburgh and again in their hometown as part of the Alehorn Of Power festival, which was headlined by Slough Feg, who drop in next month. The festival is where I also first...