The Pietasters @ Mr. Smalls Funhouse, Millvale, PA

Live Reviews | Jul 4th, 2007

The Pietasters
Photo by Bryan Kremkau

Opening Bands: Kid Durango and Heart 2 Hart,The Skunk 11
Band Links:

Damn…it’s been four years since I’ve last saw the Pietasters in concert. With a new album due out in a couple of month, they’ve embarked on a mini-tour and decided to hit up the Pittsburgh area on their way. The best part about this show other than the fact that the Pietasters were playing was that it was a Saturday show. I haven’t been to a Saturday show in decades. Well, not really that long but it seemed that way. The worst part about this show…three of the four opening bands were just downright terrible.

Playing with the Pietasters was a couple of local rock bands (Kid Durango and Heart 2 Hart) a local wannabe ska band (The Skunk 11) and a Sublime directory band from who knows where (Cellfish). Heart 2 Heart were weird in a Ben Folds kind of way only they sucked a lot more than Ben Folds if that’s remotely possible. Kid Durango seemed all right at first until their lead singer came on stage and acted like a total duechebag. He didn’t even set up and do a sound check on his own microphone. One of the guitarists in the band set it up for him. I thought that he was the lead singer at first and then when he started to sing, I realized why he wasn’t. The only thing that Kid Durango had going for them was that the lead guitarist could shred and the bassist could play fast or slow and he didn’t use a pick. After Kid Durango finished up, a local band that wants to be labeled a ska band but couldn’t play ska if their Vespa’s depended on it came on stage. The Skunk 11 played what could only be labeled as noise with horns. Pittsburgh has a terrible reputation for putting out shitty music labeled as ska. And I was actually looking forward to a local “ska” band. Skankin’ Homer, where are you when I need you?

The only other band that was worth a shit other than the Pietasters of course was called Cellfish. Unlike all of the other bands that played so far, they didn’t pester people to buy their merch or check out their Myspace page (probably because to my knowledge, they don’t have one). In fact, Cellfish didn’t talk much at all except for a little bit of information on the song that they were playing. They didn’t even mention where they are from. Anyway, Cellfish had a sound similar to Sublime or Pepper but with more hard rock influences. Their songs were hit or miss with me but overall were ten times better than any of the bands that played before them.

After one long set of shitty local bands and one decent band from somewhere in the known universe, the Pietasters were finally set to hit the stage. The Pietasters quickly got things rockin’. Their set list seemed to consist of mostly tracks from “Oolooloo” and “Willis” which was fine by me. They also mixed in some new songs from their upcoming album. I’m going to go on record and say that “Don’t Wanna Know” and “Dream Of You” sound great live. The boys from DC cranked out some classics like “Out All Night”, “Higher”, “New Breed”, “Biblical Sense” and “Girl Take It Easy” and managed to get the rude boys and girls skankin’ all night long. They even played “Freak Show” which I haven’t heard them play in a long time. After a nice long set, the band took a brief beer break and came back on stage for one of the best encore lists I’ve ever heard. “They kicked it off with “Drunken Master”, threw in “Maggie Mae” for good measure and didn’t stop until they ended with their hardest song of them all, “Somebody”. Everyone expended all of their energy on that one and it was a great song to close it out with.

What else can I say other than the Pietasters, being one of my favorite bands and one of the first ska bands that I got into, are also one of the best live performers out there today. It’s always a dance-a-thon when you attend one of their shows. I almost un-retired my skank but then I realized that this was the Pietasters not the Bosstones. They almost had me though. Maybe next time.

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