Tonight: Kick off 2013 with Velvet Elvis and other rock bands at The Shop in Bloomfield

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A new year is the perfect time for new things. So you can head to The Shop in Bloomfield tonight and catch the first appearance of Lost Realms.

The three-member band, organized by guitarist Craig Freeman, is part of a four-band lineup featuring headliner Velvet Elvis out of Rochester, N.Y.

Mr. Freeman, however, is not too nervous about his band's debut. As the man who booked the bands and put the whole event together, he will be too busy to be worried.

Besides. The players are all experienced and the crowd is sure to be flush with friends and fellow musicians who are all supportive.

The music?

"We play heavy stoner rock with influences from '70s and '90s type of heavy bands," Mr. Freeman said. "Not really metal. More like Black Sabbath and The Melvins.

"We want to have a heaviness without being overly aggressive or violent. We want to set a tone that is heavy but also hypnotic. We kind of want the audience to focus on the rhythms and the sounds and not really react in an aggressive way."

So no slam dancing.

"No, we don't want much of that," he said. "That separates the audience. I see our audience zoning out and tuning in to the rhythms. We want the entire audience to enjoy the show."

That was the vision Mr. Freeman, 31, of Bloomfield, had when he set about forming Lost Realms almost two years ago.

"I was looking for members that were interested in the same type of music that I wanted to play," he said. "I go to a lot of shows and I know a lot of musicians, and I would approach those that I knew would kind of fit the part. A lot of them knew what I was talking about, but most were already in other bands."

At one point he turned to Craigslist, but the artists who responded tended to live out of town.

"I was looking for people who were familiar with Pittsburgh bands and Pittsburgh venues," Mr. Freeman said. "It was important for me that they be knowledgeable about the Pittsburgh scene."

The result is drummer Dan Bhutta of Lawrenceville and bassist Nate Curtis of Polish Hill.

The group has been rehearsing since November in anticipation of tonight's debut. If you're in the crowd, don't expect any covers or wild riffs.

"We're going to be focused on playing the songs correctly and well and delivering them the way that we've been rehearsing," Mr. Freeman said. "We're going to do it as rehearsed for now. This is our first show and we've only been playing together for about two months, so we haven't really explored too much jamming."

Two of the other bands on stage tonight will be Carousel and Red Ginger, two other local bands that play the same kind of heavy sound you've come to know and bob your head to.

And, of course, Velvet Elvis, a five-member group kicking off a three-week tour with tonight's appearance.

"I would describe our music as stoner rock, with a hard rock feel," said drummer Scott Donaldson, as he and the other members of the band were driving for their first stop in Pittsburgh. "Black Mountain, Black Sabbath, Dead Weather, Zeppelin. But what is different about us is having Karrah [Teague] as our front woman.

"In a lot of aspects, it absolutely sets us apart. Our songs come from whoever has an idea. But Karrah has a lot of great vocal ideas with her featured."

The other members of Velvet Elvis are guitarists Brandon Henahan and Randall Coon and Luke Valchester on bass.

The Shop is at 4312 Main St. and doors open at 7 p.m. There is a $6 cover.

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If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/


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