Reviews

Black and Gold Christmas

Black and Gold ChristmasI recently had a chance to sit down and interview Chip and Maleena Dominick from Chip and the Charge Ups, as well as, Brian Gulish the Vice President, Marketing & Communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. We talked about the new collaboration by Chip and the Charge Ups and local vocalists: Liz Berlin (of triple-platinum recording artist, Rusted Root), Doug Carnahan (of After The Fall, voted “Best Rock Band” in the Iron City Rocks Pittsburgh Music Awards for the past five years), Jen Craven (of emerging metal band, A Common Crown), and powerhouse gospel vocalist, Char Fields. Black and Gold Christmas. Don’t forget to purchase the track and the shirt! The sell of the accompanying T-Shirt is being donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. In the interview you’ll learn about the making of the song, how to make donations to the food bank, and volunteer at the foodbank. You can listen to the interview (above), watch the official video, and read Patrick McElravy’s review below:

 

The Review

It’s the middle of November in the City of Steel. We just had our first decent snowfall, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and Christmas is not so far off. It’s football season which means the black and yellow terrible towels are waving frantically throughout the city of Pittsburgh as people huddle up in front of the television or pile into Heinz Field for the Steelers. Stores everywhere already have good old Saint Nick up on display everywhere and Butterball Turkeys are flying off the grocery store shelves as fast as the stock boy can load them. It’s official, people, we have entered the holiday season…..one of the craziest, most stressful, fun, and most meaningful times of the year.

Now that we got the obvious out of the way, this time of year is a time of giving, gathering, and celebration. It seems as though Pittsburgh power pop band Chip and the Charge Ups are already way ahead of the game with their new holiday anthem “Black and Gold Christmas”. The seed for the project was planted ironically in the blistering summer heat of July. Singer/songwriter Chip Dominick and company would set out to write a Christmas-themed song portraying various landmarks and traditions about the city they love and hold so dear. Once the band had the general structure of the song mapped out they took things a step further: Recruiting various rock vocalists from the surrounding Pittsburgh area (After the Fall and A Common Crown to name a few). With a task as big as writing a strictly Pittsburgh-themed holiday song while collaborating with various vocalists, how would the end results turn out?

“Black and Gold Christmas” definitely hits in all the right places and some. The band do an excellent of creating a fantastic backdrop with melodic gusto and punch for the various singers to showcase what they each bring to the table. The first half of the “Yinzer” track allows for everyone to show their individuality, taking turns showing their prowess, but it isn’t until the back half of the song where we really see the magic really happen. After a short bridge, Chip acts a conductor bringing everybody back in for the grand finale. Everyone works together to display some impressive harmony work to build the ambiance. One of the most definitive qualities of “Black and Gold Christmas” is that it is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Everyone is there and having fun and hanging out to make this holiday-laden tribute to the city of Pittsburgh.

Chip and the Charge Ups certainly have quite the product on their hands. “Black and Gold Christmas” serves as a fun track that I can see being adopted into Pittsburgh culture with its powerful performances and excellent songwriting. A noteworthy mention is Chip and the Charge Ups have partnered up with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for the track’s release. “Black and Gold Christmas” is now available on all digital platforms with all profits from the T-shirts being donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. So bust out your Christmas wreaths and terrible towels and go download “Black and Gold Christmas” today to rock out and help a great organization within the Pittsburgh community!

Build the Scene & the Pennsylvania Rock Show’s coverage of Rock for Life 20

Light ‘Em Up – Ratrod

Light 'Em UpPhiladelphia rockers “Ratrod” have dropped their scorcher of an album “Light ‘Em Up” and are looking to melt faces. Featuring a very grass roots style of rock ranging from the Aussie yarl of AC/DC to the smooth delivery of Grand Funk Railroad and John Cougar….I think it’s needless to say it’s time to shut off WDVE and educate yourselves on some new rock n’ roll. With production that bears a live, on stage intensity and raw, yet crisp production…..it’s no wonder this band of Phili rockers are making waves and taking names.

If originality is what you are looking for, you may find some disappointment here, but that’s not to say “Light Em’ Up” isn’t worth your time. It becomes very evident early on that the album is a reminiscence of sounds and songs that shaped these musicians as a unit…and a tight one at that. The band blaze, croon, and stomp through the album at mid-paced speed dropping rocker after rocker unapologetically. It’s inevitable that the band are going to escape the reference of AC/DC within the vocals and rythmn section especially, but if the shoe fits….lace that bad boy up and hit the ground running. The vocals alone are enough to even make Brian Johnson blush. As mentioned before the guitars broaden the spectrum a little further with its barrage of classic/grass roots riffage and stellar guitar leads that are littered throughout the album.

Read More Reviews

Black Ridge – A Good Time To Go

Feeling like taking a shot of nostalgia based with a good dose of the blues? Pittsburgh rock group “Black Ridge” have recently dropped their newest batch of tunes aptly titled “Good Time To Go”.

“Good Time to Go” serves as a pseudo-retro rock record of sorts. Crisp, clean production with just enough grit to drive the emotion home help cement the impact of this album. The band does a great job of paying tribute to their influences while still adding a fresh take to their style, ranging from classic rock to the blues and even hints of jazz and lounge in places.

Stand out cuts include “Walk Out the Door”, “New Day”, and closer “Nothing at All”. In “Walk Out the Door” we see the band at the their rowdiest with a classic rock/Foo Fighters infused rocker. Great blues and alternative rock riffs lead the parade with a powerhouse of a vocal performance. “New Day” we see the band strip the track down to bare bones in a timid emotional atmosphere. Slow and smooth saxophones lead the way as they cry the blues. In “Nothing at All” we see the band work their best to bring the album to close in an epic finale. With an emotional backdrop of instrumentals and possibly the strongest vocal performance on the album, prepare to have chills sent down your spine.

“The Fight” by After the Fall

2018 Summer Throwdown Fueled by Monster Energy – Country Music and Miles of Trails Add Up to an Amazing Festival!

The first annual Summer Throwdown at Mines and meadows ATV/RV Resort in Wampum, PA was a huge event of country music!! This family friendly festival had everything you’d expect and so much more, four days might not be enough time to explore it all!

While our focus is the music there was so much going on that there really was something for everyone. From the big stage to the bike jumps, vendors, woods, mines and trails, there was music, laughter and a great time was had by all. Many came to camp while others came for the day, even the rains on Friday did nothing to dampen the spirits or those who were a part of this four day festival. Folks stayed in the shade when possible during the warm day as they relaxed but couldn’t be kept from the stage area when Township Road started with their feel good sound and came out in droves to see John King hit the stage when the sun went down Friday night.

Saturday I caught a mixed bag of delights, with the music playing between freestyle motocross jumps and an announcer from Froggy FM letting everyone know more about the bands and what was going on that day, the crowds easily moved to and from the trails and across the large open field. Perfectly blended times meant not racing from one thing to the next and this was a first for me, watching mid air action as riders performed stunts high above the crowd. One of the amazing men flying through the air was 2017 X-Games Gold Medalist, Destin Cantrell and all three stunned the crowd with their feats.

Some of the bands I caught during my time there were:

Township Road – Country, Rock
John King – Country
The Hills and The Rivers – Post-Apocalyptic, Street Folk
Molly Alphabet – Country, Folk, Rock
Bindley Hardware Co. – Americana
North of Mason-Dixon (NOMaD) – New Country, Rock

Fueled by Monster Energy this festival was a highlight of my summer with friendly people, amazing food vendors (there is such a thing as portabella mac and cheese and you need to try this!!) and taking my time checking out just some of the 85 miles of trails for riding over the over 870 acre area. This is going to be a mainstay in my summer festival stops and hopefully next time I get to try out a mine tour as well!

Photo and article credit: Jana Lee Macheca/First Angel Media

Amber Alexis – Rock for Life 19

Here is a video from Rock for Life 19’s Friday night line up. This video was taken by their bassist, Garry Simmons. For those of you who are not familiar with the band’s history between us and Amber Alexis,  They used to come to every Pennsylvania Rock Show broadcast and hang out and support the band. We love every opportunity that we get to support them. With that being said, check out the video below featuring their original songs Pushed Me and A Good Laugh.