28 North will be performing at Altar Bar starting around 9 tonight.
Dan Majors The Pittsburgh Press
If it weren't for that darned Friday sticking up like a weed in our imaginary lawn of fun, tonight would be the start of an extended holiday of summer weekend wonderfulness.
Stupid Thursday holidays.
Oh well, we make the best of it tonight by heading to the Altar Bar and getting things off to a head-nodding start with 28 North, a local band that is traveling the road to success despite being named after a road that is famous for delays and detours.
Not that 28 North hasn't had its share of detours. There have been significant changes since guitarist Michael Lindner of Aspinwall and drummer Tyler Bond of Cleveland met while studying music at Duquesne University in 2003.
"Tyler and I, we've been playing music literally almost every day since we met," Mr. Lindner said this afternoon.
At first, they played with a couple other local guys in countless clubs in and around Pittsburgh, finding their footing then stretching their legs. Pittsburgh Magazine voted them "Best Band in Pittsburgh" in 2010, the same time that Post-Gazette music writer Scott Mervis described their "classic rock with a funky, Southern blues vibe."
So much for that. Since then, 28 North has inked a record deal with high-profile manager Jerry Heller and relocated to Los Angeles, where they have become fixtures on the Sunset Strip. Their website boasts that their songs have been getting more and more radio play and their nationwide tours have had them opening for top acts, as well as playing concerts and festivals such as South-by-Southwest.
And the sound, according to Mr. Lindner, has "evolved."
"Now, I think I'd describe us more as alternative rock that nods toward the great classic rock," he said. "But there are influences from all of that range. We've come so far. We almost feel like our music was older then. The music that we played was influenced by what we liked when we were 18. And that was great music, but now we're influenced more by indie music and it's a lot more current."
Some of these changes were the result of input -- some of it direct and harsh -- from their new mentors in Los Angeles.
"Obviously, we all want everything to be perfect and we liked what we were doing," Mr. Lindner said. "And we'd always been told how much people liked it. It was hard to hear some of what we heard later and, sure, it hurt for a minute, but it's great because hearing it makes you get better. What we found was -- you want to put out stuff that's competitive. We needed to get signed, we wanted to tour. So we listened to people who knew what they were talking about."
The band's makeup has likewise changed, adding Taylor Netzler (guitars) and Mark Glinka (bass), both of whom also are from Cleveland.
But Mr. Lindner would rather not discuss the changes in the band and its past. He and the rest of 28 North prefer to look down the road.
Tonight it returns to Pittsburgh.
"It's great to come back," Mr. Lindner said. "Actually, it's been like we've been living on our tour bus for two years. It's been good, but we all had to come home for some weddings, and then we're headed to New York for some meetings with the label.
"I love it. This is where I grew up. This is home. Pittsburgh allowed us to start and from here we continue. It's fun to see how we've progressed."
If there was any concern that the band's older fans might not appreciate the newer sound, it vanished after a show Tuesday night in Cleveland.
"I don't think anybody's going to be disappointed," Mr. Lindner said. "People were flipping out last night.
"I think people will see that even the old stuff is new now, because we're a completely different band. Even Tyler and I. We're still the same guys, but we've changed. We found our own kind of path."
It leads to the Altar Bar, located at 1620 Penn Ave. in the Strip District, tonight at 9.
The opening act is Act of Pardon. The cover is $12.
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.