So Much shade At Spirit (PGH)

shade-4Last Saturday at Spirit showcased three of Pittsburgh’s most intense rock groups. A crowded basement buzzing with beer and pizza kept an engaged audience fed and imbibed as three different bands achieved climactic sets in assaulting fashion.

pet clinic-5Pet Clinic, the youngest group of the three, started with a fresh mix of old and new songs. They promise a record in the summer for those curious after the release of their 2011 six track debut The Dust That Made the Fire That Made the Light. Pet Clinic’s sound revolves around a combination of blues-inspired modern rock a la Jack White (particularly the Dead Weather) and more angular alternative rock in the form of Interpol or Smashing Pumpkins. Stylistic detours even garner some prog comparisons. Massive riffs and huge percussion drove the band into punishing sonic territory, while keyboardist John Henderson coaxed his signature Leslie speaker to warble sampled synthesizer spinning in its wooden chambers. Lead guitarist Mike Arendt, despite breaking a string further on in the set, was able to draw incredible aural firings out of his Super Twin with every pass over the fretboard.

shaky shrines-1PPI favorites Shaky Shrines followed with a HUGE rock block, transitioning to each song with little or no pause. This gave the set an ever-increasing rush, like driving with an infinite number of gears to achieve greater and greater speed until all at once you approach the speed of light and the disco ball seems to have stopped and the music reaches a deafening silence…oh wait… they just finished the set…Anyways, Shaky Shrines are playing all over Pittsburgh and want you to hear them.

shade-1Local indie stalwarts shade finished the night with their signature brand of atmospheric shoegaze and indie rock. shade’s lead singer and sometimes-guitarist heaved and swelled over the dramatic chord changes and synthesizer flourishes as projections of a distorted Fred Rogers smiled and waved at the audience, lending a aural/visual kaleidoscope to Spirit’s downstairs stage. Listeners of Majical Cloudz and the Stone Roses will feel at home with the Pittsburgh band that has been releasing music since the late 90s. The “reunion” show had a genuine feeling of positivity and uplifted energy once shade took the downstairs stage.

shade-1Pet Clinic and Shaky Shrines both had greatly intense sets of well-executed tunes, but it was shade that appropriately sent Saturday night’s Spirited patrons into the reaches of another winter night, this time with positive expectations for tomorrow. The band is more comfortable with major key chord changes, which is why shade’s brand of shoegaze is one that sparkles and shines as much as it engrosses the listener with, well, shade.

Listen below and check out our photos of the night below. All images © Lukas R Truckenbrod & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open in slideshow viewer.

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