Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dateline Pittsburgh the week that was 04/5/15

Greetings faithful readers! First off I'd like to say thanks to all the folks who sent me messages through Facebook and the Papernets. (That's snail mail) I know it's been a while, trust me, there's plenty of irons in the fire right now, many of which caused the initial derailment of Glass Orchid. Remember those paper thingys that you got in the mail 2 or 3 years ago?

Anyhow, this post marks a new digital era of Glass Orchid. Just something extra to visit right before bed, in those last waking hours staring at your glowing screen, no matter what format it might be.

2015 is shaping up to be an insanely interesting year for me, both professionally and personally. I figure I'd document each week including forays in Music, Film, and Pop Culture. (The same stuff you've been digging in Glass Orchid) Come along for the ride will ya?

The week that was 4/5/15-4/11/15:

Most of this week was spent revisiting VH1's Bands On The Run TV show. I stumbled upon a few decent uploads of the show on YouTube. For those not familiar with the show, it aired in the spring and summer of 2001, pitting four bands (three in the pilot) Flickerstick, Soulcracker, Harlow, and the Josh Dodes Band in a multi city road trip in a contest to win equipment, cash, and an artist showcase. It was basically a reality show that combined American Idol and The Amazing Race but predated both only by a handful of months. Each band member is given $20 a day to live off of as they travel from city to city playing gigs, competing to see who can make the most cash from either the door or merch. Not to mention a bunch of people getting drunk, bumbling around, and doing stupid stuff. aka great television 101.

The show is still great, it aged well. Viewing it now revealed this weird pre 9/11 world. Pagers, payphones, phonebooks, maps, all this stuff that technology has bastardized. What struck me funny was the ages of all the cast members. In 2001 I was still 6 years younger then the youngest person on the I found myself older than the oldest band member. Which I guess to say seeing 30 year olds playing in a band, drinking hard, trying to score chicks, and still not have a stable mindset or foundation seems so stupid. Call me old.

There was an episode filmed in Pittsburgh which is great. It was filmed in November of 2000 but aired in April of 2001. There are so many moments that you can only expect to happen in Pittsburgh. (LINK audio/video on this one is a bit sketchy, but it's worth it.) Spoilers ahead so watch first!!

It's cool to see all these locations where these bands play and just knowing they were setup for disaster. For instance the Josh Dodes Band (sorta this soul/funk/lounge group) play on a flatbed truck in the 18th street parking lot in the South Side on a Saturday night. Yeah great idea. As expected the police shut down their show. There's a handful of shots of the Buzz Poets playing at Nick's Fat City (now Diesel). Could you get anymore stereotypical? In all seriousness it's great to see this.

Each episode has a special challenge where each group gets a text message and tries to be the first to complete the goal. This episode's special challenge was to chug an Iron City. Flickerstick, who was already sitting in the bar (surprise surprise) wins the prize of playing music to tailgating Steeler fans from a boat cruising around the rivers. When they go to promote their upcoming show to tailgating yinzers, it's clear that football fans have no interest in going to a show. They persuade some dude setup in the parking lot with a PA system to play their single. Best part is him shouting "STEELERS, EAGLES," overtop of Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll pt. 2." (I will mention there is a quick shot of a then still under construction PNC Park. You can see they had yet to install all the seats. (It wouldn't open until March of 2001.)

The musical showdown occurs at Metropol (now M) and Rosebud (now Static). Both bands draw about 20 people to each of their shows. I mean seriously who wants to go to see out of town bands in the strip district on a Steeler Sunday night? It's fairly anti-climatic. The best part is a random dude that gets a ride from the Josh Dodes Band to Mount Washington. The band tries to get directions back to Green Tree which the guy has no idea, in true "you can't get there from here Pittsburgh form." Not from Pittsburgh? Better be prepared to know landmarks that don't exist anymore. I laughed out loud when the guy said "here's the tricky part." To be fair the West End Circle was still a big friggin mess in 2001. It gets ugly because the guy leaves the band stranded three miles away from Green Mount Washington. A fight almost breaks out when the dude fails to correctly give band directions.

A Bands On The Run DVD set will likely never see the light of day because of all the licensing needed to clear all of those wonderful mid 90's and early 2000's tunes that soundtrack the episodes. But take a minute to enjoy these episodes before YouTube takes them down.

Here are links to the better quality episodes. Sadly it's not the complete season, but the full pilot and season finale are included so you can get the idea. Link 1 Link 2 Link 3

No comments:

Post a Comment