Mary Jo Coll spent the early part of the day at the 2013 R.A.N.T. (The Rock All Night Tour constructing a stage in Arsenal Park while partner-in-crime Michael Devine (aka DJ Zombo) was running around Lawrenceville moving PA systems.
"Everyone's like, 'Why's the old lady building a stage?' Well, because the old lady doesn't know how to set up a PA," she says, with a hearty laugh.
Later in the day, a little worn out from playing stagehand, she took a seat on the bench outside of Hambone's on Butler Street.
"I watched this mass of people walk around with those little cards in their hands, trying to figure out what venue to go to next. It was really cool. I saw old people going to see metal shows -- 60-year-old people checking out metal bands." (Lemmy of Motorhead, after all, is 68, so that's not too crazy. And she knows that.)
"That's what this is about. Free music and just seeing what Pittsburgh has to offer."
Look out, Larryville, it's time to R.A.N.T. once again.
The Rock All Night Tour returns to Lawrenceville Saturday with its all-day -- and most of the night -- marathon of bands of many stripes.
This third installment of the festival, which drew about 5,000 people last year, has doubled in size for 2014 with 110 acts in 25 venues, including three outdoor stages.
Ms. Coll, who books the R.A.N.T. bands (along with regularly booking Howler's and Hambone's), says, "We're everywhere from Nied's Hotel to the Eclipse lounge, so it encompasses all three wards. I know now it's popular to say Upper, Lower and Middle Lawrenceville, but I'm an old-timer, so it's 'the wards.' "
The musical approach she takes with founder Zombo is to be as inclusive as possible.
"It's about showcasing local music, and we invite everybody to the party. It's not just indie bands. There's punk, there's metal, there's party rock, there's hip-hop/R&B. Everybody's been invited to the party, and everybody's welcome to play."
And that includes the rock 'n' roll and hip-hop kids.
"One thing we're proud of this year is that it's not just a bar crawl with bands. We're using as many all-ages venues as we are over-21 venues."
One of those is The Zone, at the Boys and Girls Club, where you can find Chip DiMonick, The Bloody Seamen and more.
"It's this weird little dollar store down on Butler [at 52nd] that is supposed to be for the charter high school students to learn marketing skills," she says.
The outdoor stages are at Nied's Hotel (home of Slim Forsythe and the Payday Loners), Stinky's Bar where the Blacktop Cannibals will do a classic car cruise and family-friendly Arsenal Park. Lawrenceville United has declared it a community day, she says, so they've been doling out street closures to block party people.
Two fine Pittsburgh record labels, Get Hip and Wild Kindness, are holding roster showcases, with Get Hip's in the Andy Johanson Photography Studio.
"It's this little warehouse space underneath Arsenal Lanes," Ms. Coll says. "Way back when it used to be a punk space called the Shooting Gallery. There used to be a punk band that lived in there. We needed an all-ages venue because their big new band is the Nox Boys and they're all 17, so we can't put 'em in a bar."
In place of its Spanish rhythm section, longtime Cynics Gregg Kostelich and Michael Kastelic will get backup from members of the Neighbors. They will also bring in Toronto garage-rock band The Pow Wows.
Wild Kindness will use the downstairs of Cativo for its Americana lineup of Chet Vincent & the Big Bend, The Harlan Twins, Grand Piano and more.
Because so many acts get left out, R.A.N.T. will have busking zones in Arsenal Park and at the Farmer's Market near the Goodwill. Arsenal Park also will have bands, an ultimate Frisbee tournament, a softball game with the Polish Hill Pounders and face-painting with the roving art cart.
In year three, R.A.N.T. is still a "grassroots effort on a shoestring budget," Ms. Coll says, with just a small sponsorship from Yuengling to print posters and a few dollars from the Thunderbird Cafe.
"It's all Zombo's money and whatever else we can come up with, and hopefully we sell enough T-shirts to cover this and nobody goes in the poorhouse," she says.
"It's always been a 'Let's-put-on-a-show-in-our-barn kind of thing,'" Zombo says. "That's the way we operate. If I knew I had a big budget, I probably wouldn't know how to act. It's always been a financial white-knuckled ride."
Last year, he said, was a smashing success compared to year one.
"We made $200!"
And with that, he says, they threw a party at Arsenal Lanes with free beer and food to celebrate.
"It was nice to know that we'd done it -- We'd duct-taped it together, and it was kick-ass."