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Small Cities; Batlthrop, Alabama; and the Harlan Twins at the Brillobox in Pittsburgh by jason
March 28, 2010, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Shows | Tags: , ,

And yes, the semicolons are right there. Trust me; I’m a tutor.

OK, first of all, for the sake of full disclosure and whatnot, I’ll say that I’m old friends with one member of Balthrop, Alabama, so I might be biased. Also, as I am a fan of theirs, and I know most of their music, this review will be a little Balthrop-centric.

Anyway, this Saturday, I drove two hours from Ghettotown, Ohio to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see Balthrop, Alabama. Though I was kind of anxious to drive that far on my own, GPS ain’t messing around, and I got there without incident. This show was definitely worth the pre-trip stress.

I made it to the Brillobox a few hours early to hang out with my friend Chris, have a few beers, and meet the band. It was really cool to catch up with him and finally see these people I usually only see on the internet in person. When Balthrop, Alabama went to set up, I took some pics around Pittsburgh, then headed up to the show.

Small Cities


The first band to play was Small Cities (as opposed to The Small Cities; that’s a different band.). This is kind of a weird thing for me, because I used to hate, HATE, southern rock, and Small Cities is kind of a southern rock/alt-country band with kind of a seventies vibe, but they were great. Their own songs were pretty damn good, and they did an awesome seventies-southern-rock cover of Alice in Chains’ “The Rooster,” complete with organ. Awesome. Also awesome was when they brought Balthrop, Alabama’s Jason Bemis Lawrence to help out with a few songs. After their set, they were giving away (like, for free) their 4 song EP. I picked up a copy, and it’s pretty good…I can’t wait to get the album when it comes out later this year.

Balthrop, Alabama

Next up were Balthrop, Alabama. I have been wanting to see these guys for a couple of years now, so this was was pretty exciting for me. This show was everything I hopes it would be. Balthrop, Alabama really know how to engage the audience, talking to us between songs and, in one case, asking us to make wave crashing sounds for “Song for a Little Girl I Saw at the Beach.” I was especially happy to hear two of my favorite BA songs, “My Way, the Highway” and “Explode,” and two I hadn’t heard before, “Halo,” and one that I think was called “Electricity.” Again, as I said, I’m friends with Chris, the bassist for Balthrop, Alabama, but I would definitely be a fan if I wasn’t a friend. These guys are awesome.

The Harlan Twins

The third band, The Harlan Twins, were another alt-country/southern rock band. Like the other two bands, these guys rocked. They even called up the girls from Small Cities to sing backup on a couple of songs, which wrapped up the show with a feeling that everyone was in it together. One could feel the mutual respect that all three bands felt for each other. I ended up picking up their album, which I’ll probably review later this week.

This was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to. The bands were great, and Balthrop,Alabama really treated me well, letting me hang with them before the show and during the other bands’ sets, guest-listing me, and offering to let me crash with them instead of trying to drive all the way back to Ghettotown at 3AM. Do I get scene points for that?

Anyway, if any of these bands come to your town, check them out, or at least check out their MySpace pages. You can order stuff from Balthrop, Alabama HERE.

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4 Comments so far
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I’m all choked up, having a ‘you’re all grown up!’ moment because you’re coming around to southern rock.

Comment by Jayson

[…] Twins. The Harlan Twins are a Southern-flavored alt country/rock band from Pittsburgh that I saw on Saturday. While I was there, I picked up their album, and I’m glad I did. It’s been on rotation […]

Pingback by Review: The Harlan Twins-Self Titled « to eleven

[…] I’ve mentioned these guys before. They’re one of my favorite bands, and it’s awesome to see them get some recognition. You should all go to their site, buy their music, and become a fan while they are still relatively unknown so that later, you can say “Oh, I liked them before they were big.” Because it’s going to happen. Leave a Comment Leave a Comment so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Click here to cancel reply. Line and paragraph breaks automatic, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> […]

Pingback by NPR Song of the Day: Balthrop, Alabama-”Subway Horns” « to eleven

[…] seems to be having some sort of independant music renaissance. Earlier this year, I taked about some bands I saw in Pittsburgh and reviewed an album by one of those […]

Pingback by Review: Seán O’Donnell-Emotional Apocrypha of the Bubblegum Gospel « to eleven




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