Concert reviews: Thrival Festival, Television take rock fans to unusual places
September 25, 2015 10:20 PM
Scott Mervis/ Post-Gazette
Timothy Showalter of Strand of Oaks helped bring a muscular guitar sound to the Thrival Festival at the former LTV Coke Works site in Hazelwood.
Television performing under low lighting at Carnegie Music Hall.
At the Thrival Festival in Hazelwood, the soprano vocals of Brodie Jenkins of the Cathedrals echoed the verdant valley.
Scott Mervis photo
Panic! at the Disco projected off of the LTV warehouse building in Hazelwood at Thrival Friday night.
By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Years from now people might not remember who played the third annual Thrival Festival, but they're never going to forget the place.
“We understand this is the first gathering of humans at this site in 20 years,” K.Flay told the crowd from a stage sitting on the abandoned site of the former LTV Coke Works in Hazelwood
Like American Eagle’s New American Music Union fest on the South Side or the Levi’s festival in Braddock, both a few years back, this was the case of a strange location framing the event in a unique way. It was about as gnarly as a concert site gets, on rocky, weed-filled ground.
That’s also what made it cool. A hulking, rusted warehouse was a striking backdrop for Cathedrals singer Brodie Jenkins, performing in the daylight in a slinky black evening gown, her soprano vocals echoing through the verdant valley.
The lush, dream-pop band from San Francisco, probably more designed for dark places, was on the day shift with Pittsburgh indie faves Grand Piano, K.Flay (doing fuzzed-out indie-rock with just drums and bass) and the heaviest band on the bill, Strand of Oaks, bringing a muscular guitar sound harking back to Crazy Horse.
The night shift ramped up with rapper Wale and a dazzling laser and light display for electropop band Panic! At the Disco, including the video feed projected onto the side of the warehouse all illuminated in red. The festival continues Saturday with a lineup topped by Manchester Orchestra and Raekwon & Ghostface Killah. If you’re going, sturdy footwear is highly recommended.
Up the hill in Oakland was a show of greater historical importance, not to mention musical prowess.
The Andy Warhol Museum landed Television, one of the pioneers of the New York punk/New Wave scene of the 1970s. The band, which split in 1978 and reformed in 1992, had only played Pittsburgh once, opening for Peter Gabriel at the Stanley in 1977, and this Carnegie Music Hall show was a rare North American appearance in 2015.
Television didn’t sound like any other band then, and it still stands apart for the intricate guitar work, slippery time signatures and distinctive howl and moan of lanky frontman Tom Verlaine.
Joined by bassist Fred Smith, drummer Billy Ficca and guitarist Jimmy Rip (replacing Pittsburgh native Richard Lloyd), they gave us the beloved and ever-exotic “Marquee Moon” album in jumbled order, with the precision and occasional fire and crunch you’d expect from such veteran players.
Closing my eyes and listening to the majestic riffs of “See No Evil,” “Torn Curtain” and “Friction” ricochet around the high ceiling, I couldn't help but wonder what it sounded like in little CBGB’s during the revolution.
Scott Mervis: firstname.lastname@example.org; 412-263-2576.
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