Chisel, The 1985, Spitoon, Daytime TV

Oakland Beehive, Pittsburgh, PA

11 March 1997

posted: 30 June, 2021 16:32

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This is a pretty formative concert experience of my teenage years, so I'm thrilled to have the poster still.

I got into Chisel, and I mean way into Chisel, like 'favourite band'-level into them, just before this show was announced. They had played in Pittsburgh a few months prior, as the opening act for I think Superchunk, at a concert I did not attend, but my friend did. He returned to proclaim that he had seen this amazing opening band, and when I heard 8 A.M. All Day, I was floored.

I was still in high school's final months, and had played a few shows and gotten to know some people in 'the scene' by this point, and was going to as many shows as I could manage. This being a Tuesday night surely made it difficult, but I must have told my parents that this one was non-negotiable, and I must have arranged a ride home somehow, I'm pretty sure I was working in the library that evening maybe until 9:00, because I missed most of Daytime TV's set, only seeing their last song, but I liked it and bought their 7", which ended up being the complete discography.

Spitoon were a local band of guys who were my age –– high school seniors –– and one of them was an old friend from when I was 13 or 14, who I reconnected with through 'the scene', though I didn't spend as much time with him as I thought I would. They were heavily influenced by Louisville instrumental indie rock, Slint and Rodan, and they were shockingly great at the time. I remember their bassist went off to study somewhere outside of Pittsburgh that autumn and they broke up; did they ever record anything?

This show doubled as the record release gig for my favourite local band, the 1985. I've mentioned them elsewhere but I probably saw them around 25 times, and this was in the early, crazed period where they seemed to be playing constantly and I was continually impressed. The 7" was on Manny's Pop Bus label, and my own band's release was the subsequent one, about two years later. This particular set I can't remember distinctly, but their abrasive sound seemed a bit jarring against that of Chisel, who were more melodic, though still fast, and I think this brought together some pretty different subcrowds of show-goers to make it really crowded.

And then, Chisel. If only I had started archiving these old posters much sooner, maybe my rusty memory would recall more about the actual performance. I have a vague visual memory of them on stage at the Beehive, I was midway back in the centre of the crowd, and there were maybe 75 people there? I don't know. I was certainly singing along to the songs I knew, though they definitely played material from their forthcoming Set You Free album. They broke up soon after this, and Ted Leo went on to deserved success as a solo artist and with the Pharmacists. I've enjoyed his solo career but nothing else (including Set You Free) hit me as hard as 8 A.M. –– I don't know if it's actually a masterpiece of just a matter of right-time-right-place in my own adolescent musical taste development, but I still play my CD copy pretty often.

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