Nyansense: Music scene

Five words guaranteed to break my heart: The Pittsburgh music scene sucks. Now, don’t get me wrong. Pittsburgh is no New York, Boston, or Los Angeles – there is not a constant stream of popular musicians catering to the musically savvy here — but by no means does that legitimize the devaluation of Pittsburgh and the eclectically talented musicians who have contributed so much to the cultural revival that has been occurring here. Remember that whole “Pittsburgh is the new Portland” thing? Thank the music scene for that — maybe not for the hipsters but for the opportunity to discover amazing live music that has yet to be cuckolded by Ticketmaster.

I wanted to write a sarcastic joke here about artists refusing to play in Pittsburgh but pretty much every artist I tried using has played here. Red Hot Chili Peppers is playing at the CONSOL Energy Center this summer. Weezer graced us with its presence at Stage AE last summer. And do I even need to mention Lady Gaga or Kanye West and Jay-Z? But let’s forget about them for a second. Let’s forget about the almost insulting ease by which we can hear about those musicians or the jaw-dropping price of their tickets.

What makes Pittsburgh so fantastic and so unique in a musical culture that is continuously torn between profit and art is the underground music scene. Venues like Belvedere’s, The Shop, the Thunderbird Cafe, Garfield Artworks, and Shadow Lounge all feature amazing musicians for relatively cheap prices. It is a bit more challenging to delve into the music scene here, but for any musical adventurer the reward is well worth it. Classical, noise, hip-hop, electronic, folk: There is almost no audience that Pittsburgh fails to cater to. Even the fact that you have to try in order to find music here is amazing. There is no feeling better than stumbling upon a band you’ve never heard of and coming away with a new love.

Pittsburgh is not New York, nor should it try to be. As someone who has loved music for most of his life, I came into Pittsburgh feeling cheated because I could not see M83 or Fleet Foxes live. A year and a half later I feel more strongly attached to the music here than I ever did back home. You can be happy here too, if you only shut up and listen.