All-American Radio, The Saint Syndicate, The Subterraneans, Knifeface Orchestra

Chatham REA Coffeehouse, Pittsburgh, PA

05 December 1998

posted: 30 June, 2021 16:00

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I think this one of the first shows i set up entirely on my own, as by living with Dan people had our number and would call up and ask if we could help, and send cassette demos through the post. 1998 - it's ancient history now.

Because my friend was a student at Chatham and very involved in the student programming there, she was able to set up shows in her name that I could organise, which I realise now we did quite often. What an amazing place, an amazing resource - even though it's just a dingy basement, and I don't know what it was called a coffeehouse though perhaps there was one upstairs? If anyone has photos of REA from this era (with band graffiti covering almost every available ceiling and wall surface), please get in touch.

Anyway, All-American Radio were self-identified 'emo', which I didn't even really know much about, though the whole 'goodbye to autumn'/leaf motif here strikes me as a very lame attempt to appeal to that aesthetic. I think they were in the melodic, arpeggiated mould of an artist such as Braid, who I liked at the time, while at the same time I was making minimalist guitar drone and getting into the Residents and Sun Ra.

On the side of this flyer you'll not 'this show brought to you by the island of sanity', which I vaguely recall was an attempt for Dan and I to name our flat and show-booking empire something. I think it's because he was living in a famous punk house before and thus our relatively posh Shadyside apartment seemed calm and sane by comparison. Or maybe there was another reason more connected to scene politics, I don't remember.

The Saint Syndicate I mentioned on another poster, but this maybe was their first show? And my high school was still playing in the I think but we weren't really friends anymore by this point. The Subterraneans was a rock band that featured Pete who had temporarily left Meisha, though I can't believe I remember that. Knifeface Orchestra I think was some sort of improvised hardcore/noise group that was aggressive and confrontational. 

These bands have all been pretty much lost in the ether, though All American Radio (no hyphen) do seem to have managed to release a CD in 2003, if it's the same one. They probably stayed at our place, but I'm not sure. Everything felt exciting at this time, that I could set these things up, advertise them in public to my own standards, people might actually show up, I might actually be able to pay the bands a small amount, and I'd make new friends in the process. 

If you have any information to add about this archival item, feel free to get in touch.