Saturday, January 17, 2009

Do I need to say it?

Yeah, JT and I had a great time last night.
We started things out at the Golden Corral, and left for Butler from there. Of course, JT was cracking me up the entire time we were on the road - which was about an hour. And it always sets the mood for what's to come.
We got to Butler sometime around 7:00 PM and had to make a detour around the block a few times before we found our destination. I've now learned that Mapquest doesn't really give driving directions so much as approximate suggestions for how one might arrive at their destination. It would seem that the turn we were supposed to make to get to the venue wasn't really there. Or maybe it should've been a left instead of a right - because there was no right turn where it was supposed to be. But we still found the place OK, and with plenty of time to spare before the concert.
The place was called The Net Outreach. A really cool set-up. We walked in to what would be a small snack bar where they offered drinks and snacks of all sorts. Then on a split level there was a lounge and dining area with an alcohol free bar. We hung out there for a while until it was time for the show.
The concert took place on the third floor. It was a studio-loft with a hardwood floor and a real under-construction look to it. Not sure if it's intentional, or if they're still working on it. But it was the perfect place for a concert.
First up was an opening act called Breakaway. A kinda power-pop band with a hint of punk or maybe even a little goth influence.

They had a few of their own original songs, but they also covered a few tunes. One of which kinda took us by surprise was Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. The other was a great power-pop punk version of Stand By Me. But I'll share more about this band later.
The main event was Alakrity. They remembered us, especially since JT has maintained contact with them for his podcast material.

I gotta admit, I like the message on the stickers.

After Alakrity's set we lingered to hang out and talk with everyone. Not to mention getting our obligatory pics.

I had to get my pic taken with Breakaway because I know one of the band members - and didn't even know it until I saw her behind the keyboards. She's in the middle of the shot. Her name is Sharon and she's the manager of our defect investigation technicians group at work.
It's kinda funny that she didn't recognize me at first because of the missing mohawk. But once she realized who I was we started to talk about our involvement with music. She plays the piano for her church in Murrysville. These youngsters have been begging her to come play keys for them for over a year. So she finally gave in, and they actually have a few shows scheduled for out of state in the summer.
We also made sure to hang out with the guys from Alakrity for a few minutes. Ya gotta love the fact that their shirts are fashioned after the original Power Rangers insignia.

And they even started their show with the original Power Rangers theme song - and if you aren't aware of what that might be, consider yourself blessed.
Yeah I got my pic taken with these guys this time.

They've gone through a few member changes since we saw them last. New bassist, and no more keyboards. Their bassist left because he felt called to go to college. Their keyboardist quit because of health issues. it's kinda sad, but they've maintained their sound, and their new bassist is really good.
They're gonna be in the area again next Friday too, in Kittanning. Their schedule is to do a show tonight in Haggerstown MD. Then they'll be playing at a pro-life rally in DC during the inauguration. And as they swing back to Wisconsin, they'll be hitting Kittanning.
They've asked JT and I to pimp this show for them. We'd love to go, but we have a previous commitment to see a few other bands in Crafton - a rescheduling of a show we missed because of bad weather last month.

OK, now some more serious notes on supporting Indie Music.
As JT and I talked to the guys from Alakrity about their "touring" we came to realize that these guys are really committed to making this thing a go. They don't usually get paid for their shows. Typically they get fed by whoever has invited them to play. Sometimes there's a few dollars for their gas. But it's usually only what they get from merchandise that they get to keep. And the CD sales are still paying for the production costs. So, they usually have a little jar or pop bottle set up on the Merch Table to accept donations for their food and fuel expenses on the road. It's a rough life, but they're committed to it because they're committed to the message of their music. Ya gotta respect that. And that's why JT and I are so committed to supporting indie artists. They've earned every bit of our respect and admiration for the risks they take to pursue this calling. We should all have such courage and faith...

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