The Supervillains @ The Smiling Moose (Upstairs) Pittsburgh, PA

Live Reviews | Apr 16th, 2013

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Date: April 12, 2013
Opening Bands: The Escape Goats, The Cynimatics

It’s been awhile since I’ve got the chance to hit up a Supervillains show…probably since 07-08 when they came through with Slightly Stoopid. Being a super early (pun intended) 6:30 show on a Friday, that meant that I got to leave work early and kick off my weekend ahead of schedule. Thanks to the Supervillains and their PR guy Derek, I was able to get on the guest list for this here review and even though there were some minor issues, everything got ironed out accordingly.

I arrived early enough to do some shopping on the South Side and grab a Primanti’s before the show and managed to catch the relatively short sets of both opening bands. When I say relatively short…I mean five or six song set lists. There was almost zero downtime between band switchovers as well. Both of the opening bands were from the Pittsburgh area, the first up being the Escape Goats who had a hard rock sound with some very slight rap rock influences. They had some good songs, but they weren’t miked very well. The second band up was a ska punk band called the Cynimatics. The mentioned that they were playing their first show ever. They had a crust ska influence and covered some Choking Victim songs as well as NOFX and Sublime and what I believe was a couple of original songs. I was definitely a fan of their sound and can’t wait to hear more about them in the future.

Now I’ve never been to the Smiling Moose for a show before and it had a decent floor and stage area for being above a bar in a fairly small building on the South Side of Pittsburgh. There was, at first, what seemed like a decent turnout for the first couple bands and I was expecting the crowd to grow exponentially by the time the Supervillains came on. I was wrong. Most of the earlier crowd must have been friends and family of the local bands. More than two thirds of the crowd left after the Cynimatics. I kid you not…there were about 12 people that stuck around for the Supervillains. I’m still pissed off about that. It helps to confirm my theory that the Pittsburgh ska scene is pretty much non-existent anymore. Twelve freaking people for one of the most exciting ska/punk/reggae bands out there right now…it was embarrassing. I know that the guys in the Supervillains were probably a slight bit disappointed, but they put on one of the most energetic and exciting set list for the group that stuck around. They played their butts off and made the best of the situation and seemed to be genuinely having fun. Again, I apologize for the sucky crowd. Sorry guys.

One of the things that I was curious about was seeing the Supervillains for the first time without their horn section. I wondered how many of their songs would translate over and, with the addition of full-time keyboardist, the songs didn’t sound that different. I was also kind of expecting a more laid back set with mostly songs from “Postcards From Paradise” and “Volume 8”, but the guys said to hell with that and was throwing everything out there with a lot of songs from “Grow Yer Own” and “Massive” surprisingly. Off the top of my head I can recall “20 Excuses”, “Ex-Girlfriend”, “Robots From Purgatory”, “Mary Jane & Jagermeister”, “Resin”, “Drinkin’ Tonight” and its sequel “Drinkin’ Last Night”, “Crippy Weed” as well as their covers of “Where Is My Mind?”, “Johnny Too Bad” and “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”. There were plenty more in there that slipped my mind, but I know that they closed with “The Pit” which is one of my personal favorites.

I was very excited that the Supervillains played “Where Is My Mind?” and “Johnny Too Bad” and was very surprised that they threw in “Robots In Purgatory” which is almost as epic of a ska punk tune as “Party At Ground Zero”. I was disappointed at the lazy crowd of a dozen, but the band played on and it was almost like my own personal Supervillains show and that just can’t be beat. Here’s hoping that they come back to Pittsburgh again. If not, I can totally understand why.


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