Beethoven + Coldplay + Pittsburgh Symphony = FUSE@PSO

Earlier this year the Pittsburgh Symphony performed the first in the series of mash-up performances called FUSE@PSO. The next FUSE@PSO performance is Beethoven + Coldplay and takes place on Tuesday, October 6. I had the opportunity to meet Steve Hackman who is the conductor of these performances last week. He is new to Pittsburgh and doing some really interesting things to get more new faces to the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Here is a video of the last FUSE@PSO performace which was a mashup of Brahms + Radiohead:

Steve is eager to meet more Pittsburghers and talk about his work. In the spirit of mashups I am working with Steve to put together a Meet the (Music) Maker event at TechShop this Sunday.  Steve will talk more about his work and the FUSE@PSO performances.  If you are interested in learning more about Steve, the Pittsburgh Symphony or TechShop, I hope you will stop by on Sunday evening.


Meet the (Music) Maker with Steve Hackman from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Free – please register at

Follow: @TechShopPGH @PGHSymphony @SteroHideout & #FUSE@PSO


Vinyl in Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Profiles Visits Jerry’s Records and Galaxie Electronics

A link to this new video series was shared on the Pittsburgh reddit page over the weekend.  This short, 7 minute video, offers a look at Jerry’s Records and Galaxie Electronics – both are located at 2136 Murray Avenue in Sq. Hill.  The video series doesn’t have a website yet but you can keep an eye on The Cut website for updates.

Pittsburgh Profiles // Vinyl in Pittsburgh from Jordan Sucher on Vimeo.

A Chill Evening with Zac Brown Band at First Niagara Pavilion

The view from the lawn at First Niagara Pavilion for Zac Brown Band

The view from the lawn at First Niagara Pavilion for Zac Brown Band

This past weekend I attended the Zac Brown Band show and it was the first time I made the trip out to First Niagara Pavilion to see a concert. Strange to think, I know. I was a little apprehensive, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about what a pain it is getting in and out of there and most of them were true. I actually got lost going out there and took a detour, plus the traffic just getting to the point where you can get lost is trouble in and of itself.

But once you get past the fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere, First Niagara Pavilion turns into an awesome venue. The stage is huge and offers a lot of options for artists to use it in different ways- something Zac Brown Band took full advantage of during their show with flashing lights, narrative images on the big screen, as well as a live concert projection for those of us hanging out in the lawn. The giant lawn opens things up and gives people room to breath and the acoustics are fantastic. No matter where I was throughout the night I could clearly hear everything coming from the stage. Unfortunately I missed opening act Levi Lowrey because of my little detour getting out there, but when Zac Brown Band finally took the stage everyone was itching to get the night started.

The cool thing about Zac Brown is that he has this uncanny ability to stretch across a wide range of topics and niches. He’s country to the bone there’s no doubt about that. But he’s also got some Jimmy Buffet-Beach Bum in him and that Beard-Beanie trademark screams (pun intended) aspects of hard rocking metal. This all-encompassing genre medley is seemingly effortless for him and his band as they rolled through song after song for over two hours. Just take a gander at some of the covers they played: snippets of Bob Marley’s “One Love,” John Mayer’s “Neon” (pre Born and Raised, country-ish Mayer), Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion”, Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, and a fast-paced rendition of the Charlie Daniels Band’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” It’s such an odd assortment of songs, and would definitely be an iTunes playlist fail in theory.

But Brown strings reggae, classic rock, metal, and back-woods country in a manner that comes across so naturally authentic, which is what makes him such a mass appeal. One look at the crowd and you can see the people there were just as diverse as the set list. There were rowdy Marlboro men, hard rockers, hippies, borderline Parrotheads- all thrown together with families and people just looking to have a good time and see a great show-something everyone can agree on. If you asked me to describe the show in one word I would honestly say “chill”, in the best urbandictionary definition possible. People hung out on the lawn, danced, and had a blast. The crowd couldn’t get enough, and Brown delivered with a stacked show full of jam sessions and a 25 song set list. It got to the point where I was checking my phone to see what time it was because I thought he’d never get off the stage.

Plus Brown loves Pittsburgh, look he specifically says he means it:

So to all of the other cities that Zac Brown has loved in the past, HE DIDN’T MEAN IT.

Full Setlist:

  1. Jump Right In
  1. Whiskey’s Gone
  1. Settle Me Down
  1. Highway 20 Ride
  2. Where The Boat Leaves From/One Love

    Zac Brown Band @ BamaJam Music Festival

    Zac Brown Band @ BamaJam Music Festival (Photo credit: ConcertTour)

  3. Toes
  4. One Day
  1. As She’s Walking Away
  1. Neon/Isn’t She Lovely (John Mayer cover)
  2. Free/Into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover)


  1. Seven Bridges Road
  2. Babylon (David Gray cover)
  3. Day That I Die
  4. Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith cover)
  5. The Frozen Man (James Taylor cover with Percussion solos)
  1. Keep Me in Mind
  1. Colder Weather
  1. Knee Deep
  2. The Wind
  3. Enter Sandman (Metallica cover)
  4. Goodbye In Her Eyes
  1. Chicken Fried


  1. Uncaged
  1. Kashmir (Led Zeppelin cover-short version)
  2. The Devil Went Down to Georgia (The Charlie Daniels Band cover)


Thanks to the awesome fan in attendance who took this really clear, great quality video (unlike most self-shot concert videos) of “Knee Deep.”


A hater’s guide to Jimmy Buffett

Ok. Ready for an unpopular opinion? I hate Jimmy Buffett.

I can’t explain it and neither can anyone else. There’s always a resounding “but why?!” when I let slip that he and his music drive me absolutely up the wall. My only answer is a pathetic yet indignant “I just don’t know.”

Jimmy Buffett 080128-N-3235P-221 MIDDLE EASTER...

Honestly, what is wrong with me? How can I hate this face?

In theory, I should be totally on board with Jimmy. He and I seem to value and appreciate a lot of the same things: relaxing on beaches, drinking margaritas and beer, a carefree attitude, nature conservation. The man has a song about cheeseburgers, for heaven’s sake. We should be best friends. Even I don’t get it.

So when I was invited to attend his concert last Thursday at First Niagara Pavillion, plus partake in the legendary tailgating, I was a bit apprehensive. Am I going to fall deeper into nonsensical loathing with the poor man? Or will I end up devoting the rest of my days to the Parrothead religion?

I brake for all tailgate parties.

I figured if I ever was going to make some sense out of my feelings (and honestly, hopefully dispel them– I feel like a terrible person for hating, essentially, America’s Grandfather), I should go with an open mind. And a significant amount of beers in my belly.

So I did. And you know what? I had an absolute blast. While I may not be his biggest fan now, I think still saying that I hate him simply isn’t true. I can definitely appreciate the experience. So here’s what I learned at my first, and hopefully not last, Buffett concert:

The lawn at Jimmy Buffett was absolutely packed. And the Panoramic feature on iPhones gives people weird arms.

The lawn at Jimmy Buffett was absolutely packed. And the Panoramic feature on iPhones gives people weird arms.

  • Everyone is so friendly! Since Jimmy is a general promoter of all things happy and a good time, I wasn’t entirely surprised by this. But people were generously sharing food and drinks, getting to know each other, having spontaneous dance parties, and generally being good, fun neighbors, despite the oppressive heat. Oh, and if it’s your first time at a Buffett concert, they’ll definitely take care of you.
  • People take Buffett very seriously. My friend who organizes the outing each year said “This is no joke. I take Buffet more seriously than when I plan for Christmas or birthdays.” People travel for hundreds of miles to attend as many of his shows as possible. Lawn seats sell out in a manner of minutes and it’s absolutely packed. I have to give it to them, Parrotheads have an admirable and unwavering devotion.

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  • There’s no such thing as taking the tropical theme too far. Everything goes for Buffett: Bathing suits, Hawaiian shirts, leis on leis on leis, blow-up parrots and palm trees and fish. Margarita and lime flavored everything. Cars turned into sharks. A stage with a kiddie pool and actual sand (which was the site of many dance parties).
  • It’s a drinking affair. Most tailgates are, but this was on an entirely different level. You’ll probably learn a new drinking game or two or discover a new tequila delivery methods (it’s fairly delicious mixed in with Landshark lager). There is something to be said for moderation though and it probably wouldn’t have hurt for some fans to indulge a bit less. To each his own. Just stay hydrated and be careful.
  • The man puts on quite a show, especially for being 66. He and his band sounded great and full of energy, even from where we were standing way back on the lawn. Everyone was up dancing, singing, and really getting into his music.
  • Sunscreen and water are your best friends. This is really just general life advice but is doubly important when you’re standing outside all day in the hot, hot sun drinking. While a couple rain showers gave us a brief reprieve, I have a fairly awkward sunburn to remind me of my lack of sunscreen application.
  • Have an open mind. I never ever thought I would give in to the call of Margaritaville, but it happened and I had a wonderful time. I met lots of great people, danced in the rain, and saw a fun show. What more could you want out of life?

Polish Hill’s Annual Arts Festival this Sunday

polish-hill-arts2013_webWhat could be a better way to beat the Sunday blues than heading over to Polish Hill for its annual arts festival? Started in 2008, the festival features crafters, food trucks, and live music.

There will be over 30 vendors present, and these aren’t your rinky-dink, run of the mill crafts. Polish Hill Arts Festival posted “previews” of the some vendors, and they are selling truly unique and beautiful art (including the previously featured John the Craftist). From wall art to silver jewelry, the festival offers a wide range of vendors–there’s something for everyone.

The event appeals to all ages, offering free arts and crafts activities for adults and children alike. If you aren’t feeling crafty, there will also be live performances throughout the day, featuring local bands.

The festival runs from noon-9p.m. on Sunday July 21st. You can find all the action at the intersection of Brereton and Dobson streets. For more information check out Polish Hill Arts Festival’s Facebook page.