The Delicious Pastries were rehearsing Tuesday night in preparation for tonight's show at brillobox in Lawrenceville, but the songs simply weren't coming together.
"We were like, 'Why does everything sound so bad tonight?'" said Jesse Ley, one of the band's founders. "And I was, like, 'Because there's no tambourine!'"
If you're going to play cheery pop music with that groovy '60s feel to it, you gotta have a tambourine in the band. Unfortunately, there were severe thunderstorms in the region Tuesday night, and percussionist Dustin Walsh had stayed home to deal with some flooding.
But fear not, music fans. Mr. Walsh is expected to be on stage tonight as he and the rest of Delicious Pastries take you on a magical mystery tour of their own.
"It's a lot like '60s pop music," said Mr. Ley, 31, of Friendship. "We try to create contemporary versions of those sounds. We're not that heavy-handed with our influences, but if you listen closely you can hear The Zombies and The Beach Boys and the Kinks coming through in our song-writing."
But don't get uptight if everything isn't "Uptight (Everything's Alright)."
"Our objective isn't to be a '60s cover band, because that's not really very interesting for us," said Mr. Ley, who with guitarist Jonathan Chamberlain writes the group's songs. "We have melodic pop vibes with psychedelic elements. We don't approach it like, 'Now we're going to try and make a song like this old song.' Mostly, we have fun. Whether it's a fast song or a slow song or a moody song, the whole process should be enjoyable. I feel like that's what music -- and pop music in particular -- is all about."
Mr. Ley and Mr. Chamberlain formed Delicious Pastries almost five years ago, and the band has gone through a handful of members. Tonight at brillobox, Mr. Ley will be on drums, Mr. Chamberlain and Burr Settles on guitars, Corry Drake on bass and Dan Styslinger on keyboards. Oh, and Mr. Walsh on tambourine and other instruments. That's pretty much the same lineup they've had for the past year.
Not that you've seen a lot of Delicious Pastries lately.
"A lot of bands are entertainment and they're there every weekend as background music," Mr. Ley said. "We treat our shows a little differently and we play a little less frequently.
"We had a really big show in December at the Elks Lodge on the North Side, and then we did some stuff out of town, but this is our first show in Pittsburgh probably in four months. Our primary objective lately has been our new album, which has been an incredibly time-consuming process."
Part of what brings them back to the stage tonight is one of the acts that is sharing the stage -- Laser Background.
"Laser Background are good friends of ours out of Philadelphia," Mr. Ley said. "They're on a brief Midwest tour starting tonight, so we wanted to try and help them out and give them a good show here in Pittsburgh."
Rounding out the bill is local group Sports Metaphors.
"There's a lot of similarities to the three groups," Mr. Ley said, "but each has it own approach to pop music that is distinctive."
There's that word again. "Pop." Isn't that a dirty word in the music business, all soda and bubble gum?
"It's a mix between bravery and oblivion," Mr. Ley said. "It's weird because I don't know when 'pop' received such a negative connotation. I mean, The Beatles were a pop group."
You can kick along the cobblestones to brillobox at 4104 Penn Ave. Things get started at 9 p.m. and there's a $7 cover.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/