G. Love and Special Sauce Does Not Disappoint

In the midst of a brutal Pittsburgh winter, I was certain that my Friday night would be spent on the couch with a cold beer and the TV remote. G. Love and Special Sauce apparently had an agenda that differed from my own; they came to blow the damn doors off. Let’s rewind to Friday, March 6th at 5:00, just two hours before the venue doors opened to the crowd of fans patiently waiting in the frigid winter cold to experience the phenomenon that is G. Love and Special Sauce. A lot of mG. LOVE at Stage AEy days working at Stage AE on Pittsburgh’s North Shore are the same: I get to the venue a few hours before the show, help the promotions coordinator with chores around the office, spend some time hanging flyers for upcoming shows and maybe linger just an extra minute to catch a glimpse of sound check. It gets a little repetitive when you’ve done for a hundred concerts. Sometimes I stick around for the show if I’m a fan of the band. Sometimes I just go home to aforementioned couch and beer combination. However, Friday night was different. I had listened to some G. Love before, I was acquainted with the music but had not given it enough of a chance to call myself a true “fan.” I must say, I was blown away by the performance of these three exceptionally talented musicians.

Matt Costa was the special guest who opened for the Sauce, and his style was unlike most acoustic musicians I’ve seen. He reminded me a lot of the Beatles (circa Sgt. Pepper’s) with his catchy, upbeat melodies and rhythms. To all the Beatles fanatics who I have just undoubtedly offended with this remark: calm down. No one will ever replace the Beatles. What I’m saying is that Matt Costa has captured an essence that provokes a similar feeling, for me at least. I digress. Mr. Costa’s ability to harmonize his vocals and guitar playing was excellent, which is no easy task considering how difficult it is to play one instrument, much less two at the same time. Seeing this show definitely put him on my radar, so hats off to you, Matt Costa.

Finally, the time came for G. Love and Special Sauce to take the stage, and they rocked this crowd from the very first song. G. Love was so visibly excited to perform for this group of ecstatic fans. It is so refreshing to witness a man who loves music as much as G. Love does. He was running all over the stage to make sure he could get close to as many fans as possible, and he never missed a note in the process. I love the way he uses that harmonica with his guitar to create sweet, bluesy euphoria. Some might call him a folk musician; others may say he is a rock star with just a dash of hip-hop. It was like listening to the love child of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. He even performed covers of “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” by The Beatles and “Season of the Witch” by Donovan. What an awesome way to pay homage to some of your influences! G. Love was incredible, but lets not forget about the Special Sauce.

I’ve heard countless times the phrase: “Give the drummer some.” Well I would like to take a minute to “give the bassist some.” Jim Prescott, to whom G. Love endearingly referred as “Jimi Jazz,” was out of this world. I’ve been to a ton of concerts, and it is very rare for me to see a band use an upright bass player. That alone caught my attention. However, I was taken two steps further by the talent of this man, who has clearly spent years mastering his craft. He was given several solos, each of which had the audience dancing and cheering with overwhelming enthusiasm.

Drummer, Jeffrey Clemons, had also brought his A-game Friday night. I watched this man do a drum solo with a set of brushes. Has that ever happened before? How do you generate that much energy without sticks? I think he may have been a wizard.

The whole show was killer from start to finish. I’m so happy I didn’t leave after work like usual. To top off an incredible night, I caught the guitar pick that G. Love threw into the crowd after his encore. Now I just need to find a way to harness his soulful energy and use it to advance my own personal musical aspirations.

– Shane Singer

PROMOWEST PRODUCTIONS PURCHASES CINCINNATI’S BUNBURY & BUCKLE UP FESTIVALS

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (December 8, 2014) – PromoWest Productions, a top-ranked independent concert promoter by Pollstar Magazine, announced today its purchase of Bunbury and Buckle Up music festivals in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The purchase adds to PromoWest’s existing portfolio of concert venues including LC Pavilion, Newport Music Hall, The Basement and A&R Music Bar in Columbus, Ohio and Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA. “We are excited to expand into the Cincinnati market. We have strong relationships with the bands that play Bunbury as they play our venues throughout the year,” said Scott Stienecker, president and CEO of PromoWest Productions. PromoWest will handle all booking, marketing, sponsorship and production of the festivals and Bill Donabedian will continue to oversee operations.

In past years, Bunbury Music Festival, which takes place along the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati throughout Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove, has hosted top alternative artists including The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Fall Out Boy, FUN. and more. PromoWest, known for its creative design of intimate concert venues in Columbus and Pittsburgh, has modified the festival layout to provide fans with a more intimate concert experience. The festival, previously having one main stage and five smaller stages, will now feature two main stages and two side stages for better viewing and easier logistical flow for festival goers. Bunbury Music Festival will take place June 5-7, 2015.

Buckle Up Music Festival, a country music festival that launched in 2014 hosting country stars such as The Band Perry, Willie Nelson and Alabama and brought in close to 60,000 attendees, will be relocated from Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove to the new Summit Park in Blue Ash, Ohio for 2016. “Country music is on fire right now and we are looking forward to booking the hottest performers,” said Stienecker.  Due to the timing of the purchase acquisition and construction of the new festival location, Buckle Up will return in August 2016. Refunds for 2015 are available at original point of purchase.

The lineup for Bunbury festival will be announced in February of 2015.

PromoWest will bring in its current ticketing partner, Ticketmaster, to handle both festivals. All previously purchased tickets through ShowClix for the 2015 Bunbury festival will be honored at the main festival gate. Refunds, if needed, are available at the original point of purchase. Bunbury early bird single-day tickets are $49, 3-day passes are $109 and VIP is $349. Ticket prices will increase January 2, 2015. Additional pricing details are available at www.bunburyfestival.com.

PromoWest Productions

PromoWest Productions, having just celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2014, currently offers Columbus, Ohio, over 450 events a year at its venues LC Pavilion, Newport Music Hall, The Basement and A&R Music Bar. PromoWest opened the country’s second indoor/outdoor concert venue, Stage AE, in downtown Pittsburgh in 2010. For more information on PromoWest, please visit www.promowestlive.com.

For more information on these festivals, visit www.bunburyfestival.com and www.buckleupfestival.com

Marilyn Manson brings the Hell not Hallelujah Tour to Stage AE – January 30th

PromoWest North Shore and Coors Light Presents
Marilyn Manson

January 30th, 2015 – 7 PM
Stage AE – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
$45.00 Advance/Day of Show
Tickets go on sale November 21st

Marilyn Manson, the self-proclaimed “Antichrist Superstar,” became a mainstream antihero, much to the chagrin of conservative politicians and concerned parents. Such attention pushed many of his songs — including “The Dope Show,” “The Beautiful People,” and a cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — into the upper reaches of the modern rock charts during his heyday. Born Brian Warner, Manson was raised in Canton, Ohio. After relocating to Florida in 1989, he became friends with guitarist and fellow outsider Scott Mitchell; the two soon decided to form a band adopting the name Marilyn Manson. The band’s sound began taking on a harder edge, and by 1992 they were among the most popular acts in the South Florida area. In 1993, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor came calling, offering both a contract with his Nothing Records label as well as the chance to open for NIN the following spring; Manson accepted both offers, and the group’s debut LP, Portrait of an American Family, appeared during the summer of 1994.

In 2011, during preparation for the release of the band’s eighth studio album, drummer Ginger Fish announced he had left the group. Later that same year, Manson premiered a short film in support of the album titled Born Villain. The film, directed by actor Shia La Beouf, was not a music video for a specific track, but a stand-alone short. The album Born Villain, featuring the single “No Reflection,” was released in 2012 and debuted inside the Top Ten. Recording began one year later for The Pale Emperor, set for release early in 2015 on Cooking Vinyl. Don’t miss Marilyn Manson January 30 at Stage AE!

Official Website: www.marilynmanson.com
Ticket Link: http://bit.ly/MM130SAE

Tickets available November 21 at all Ticketmaster locations. Charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information visit www.promowestlive.com.

An Evening with Gaelic Storm at Stage AE! – February 19th, 2015

PromoWest North Shore and Coors Light Presents
An Evening With Gaelic Storm!

February 19, 2015 – 7:30 PM
Stage AE – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
$22.00 Advance/$25.00 Day of Show
Tickets go on sale 11/14!

Even before releasing an LP, the Santa Monica-based Celtic group Gaelic Storm — vocalist/accordionist Patrick Murphy, bodhran player Stephen Wehmeyer, guitarist/mandolinist Steve Twigger, fiddler Samantha Hunt, and djembe player Shep Lonsdale — left an impression on audiences worldwide through their appearance as the “steerage band” entertaining immigrant third-class passengers in James Cameron’s blockbuster film epic Titanic. The unprecedented success of the movie brought Gaelic Storm to the attention of the Higher Octave label, which in 1998 issued the group’s self-titled LP. Herding Cats followed a year later, with Tree appearing in spring 2001 and Special Reserve arriving in 2003. The group’s fifth album, 2004’s How Are We Getting Home?, debuted at number three on the world music charts, 2006’s Bring Yer Wellies landed at number two, and 2008’s What’s the Rumpus? managed to snag the number one spot. The full-length albums Cabbage and Chicken Boxer arrived in 2010 and 2012, respectively. After 10 albums, and nearly 3,000 live shows, Gaelic Storm — the chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band — is dishing up a hearty serving of Full Irish. The greatest-hits album spans the bulk of the band’s career from 2004-2014, mixing crowd favorites and concert staples with three previously unreleased recordings. Don’t miss An Evening with Gaelic Storm February 19 at Stage AE!

Official Website: www.gaelicstorm.com

Tickets available November 14 at all Ticketmaster locations. Charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at http://bit.ly/GaSSAE. For more information visit www.promowestlive.com.

Tickets on sale 11/14!

February 19th at Stage AE!

Umphrey’s McGee Returns to Rage

Attention all progressive rockers!!! They’re back in town for the third year in a row, because evidently they didn’t rock enough worlds when they last played Stage AE last October. Umphrey’s McGee has been gracious enough to give us another chance to witness their spectacular blend of prog-rock and not-so-heavy metal, along with shades of jazz and funk and almost every other genre in the spectrum; this band is the definition of versatile.
Formed in 1997, this six-man band is performing with all but one of the founding members, and their chemistry is more intense than ever before. Having just released their eighth and most recent studio album, Similar Skin, in June, UM is prepared to deliver one hell of a show to their loyal fan base.
All six members of the band deliver one-of-a-kind talent, but the highlight (in my opinion) is lead guitarist, Jake Cinninger. This guy’s guitar solos give Slash a run for his money. The whole band backs him up perfectly. Their tightness on-stage is second to none, with all members simultaneously making key changes and transitions with unmatchable precision.
Let’s not forget that Dopapod is going to warm up the crowd with their jam-band style charisma. Be ready to dance the night away!
On Friday, October 24, these bands will be firing on all cylinders to give you the show you paid to see, so be sure to get your tickets at: http://bit.ly/UmphSAE

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STS9 returns to Stage AE on Friday, October 10th!

Do you like instrumental music? How about electronic jam bands? Are you a huge fan of live shows and drinking beer? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you need to free your schedules for Friday, October 10; Sound Tribe Sector 9 is coming to our very own Stage AE to blow minds!

Touring for their eleventh studio, When the Dust Settles, this band shows no signs of slowing down. Why would they? They stand at the forefront of a unique genre and they have an incredible track record of headlining huge music festivals, as well as opening for popular acts such as Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion?) and The Glitch Mob.

Although this band has been around since 1998, their popularity still continues to blossom across the country as if they were a new band; they are averaging 5,000 tickets sold per show for a good reason.
What may be even more impressive than their musical accolades is their philanthropy. They’ve raised a ton of money for various charities as well as working with different non-profit organizations to aid in a plethora of different causes. STS9 has even gone as far as to turn some of their own concerts into food drives where fans bring a canned food item to the show.

Whether you’ve listened to STS9 before or not, you have to respect these guys and what they stand for; give them a chance! There’s a good reason why they’re on Pollstar Magazine’s list of top grossing touring acts. It’s because they put on one hell of a show for their fans.

This show will be indoors, and tickets are still available at: http://bit.ly/STS9PGH

Grab your friends and come ready to dance!

by Shane Singer

STS9 at Stage AE!

Tantrum in Fitzburgh!

Fitz and the Tantrums graced us with their presence this Saturday at Stage AE in Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and they delivered one hell of a show. A very loyal following of ecstatic fans congregated outside the gates of Stage AE hours before the show with aspirations of making their way to the front of the pit; everybody wanted to be close to the action for this show.

HOLYCHILD! was the first opening act on the tour, helping to get the crowd warmed up in anticipation of the main event. They played for about forty minutes and then left the stage for Max Frost to come do his thing. I was pleasantly surprised with Max. Let me be completely honest, I had never heard of this kid before the show, and I did not take the time to research him prior to the concert. However, upon hearing him play live, I was very impressed with his dynamics as well as his chemistry on stage with his bandmates. He encored with “White Lies,” his most successful hit. This song sounded amazing and prompted me to go listen to more of his music. He had me questioning where I had gone wrong with my own musical endeavors, as we are the same age.

Frost bowed out as his band played him off and it was time for the headlining act: Fitz and the Tantrums. They came on stage to welcome a very enthusiastic audience, and they wasted no time with introductions. Fitz opened with “Get Away” and the crowd was immediately launched into dance mode. The demeanor of the crowd made it evident that everyone was having an awesome time. Fitz and the Tantrums played for about an hour and a half before leaving the stage, triggering the inevitable encore chant that echoed through the entire north shore. Fitz refused to leave their fans disappointed, and the band returned to the stage for their big finish as the crowd erupted with a blood-curdling uproar of applause. The band proceeded to play their two most popular songs, “Money Grabber” and “The Walker,” which proved to be very pleasing to the crowd.

This band was special in the way they conducted themselves on stage. They were very interactive with the crowd, always trying to evoke as much noise and excitement and dancing as humanly possible. I was very impressed with James King, the bands saxophone player who had several intricate solos throughout the set.

Overall, this show was excellent from beginning to end, and it couldn’t have happened on a nicer night. Hopefully you had the opportunity to witness, but in case you missed it, Fitz and the Tantrums reassured fans that they would return to Pittsburgh to rock some worlds once again.

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By: Shane Singer

Photo by Instagram fan @ah_b_normal

Setlist:

  1. Get Away
  2. Don’t Gotta Work It Out
  3. Break the Walls
  4. Breakin’ the Chains of Love
  5. Keepin Our Eyes Out
  6. Spark
  7. MerryGoRound
  8. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
    (Eurythmics cover)
  9. Out of My League
  10. House on Fire
  11. Fools Gold
  12. Last Raindrop
  13. 6AM
  14. Tell Me What Ya Here For
  15. L.O.V.
  16. MoneyGrabber
  17. The Walker