You've probably never heard of Sonny's Tavern, a small triangular room in the Bloomfield area. Which seemed like a good reason to catch Black Moth Super Rainbow's show there this past weekend. According to Charles Benefiel, the band's manager, it was the first time Sonny's has held a show -- not that you'd know it from door-busting crowd.
DJ Cutups worked the turntables for quite a while before openers Hell Yeah the Hellcats kicked off a set of dueling hard-rock guitars backed by stock drum-machine beats. While this was probably a lot of fun to play, the audience didn't seem to find it very interesting to see or to hear. After a couple of Harangue's distorted sea chanteys I felt claustrophobic and stepped outside ... to see a line of people waiting to get in.
Rather than fight my way back in, I headed to Ray's Marlin Beach in Lawrenceville, for the first Gimmick dance party of 2007. Apparently people find the idea of someone playing dance tunes on a laptop interesting -- all three floors of the normally serene bar were crowded. Which is a good thing ... I guess? New owner Tony Tumolo says the upstairs rooms -- currently each broken into two or three small areas -- will be opened up into larger spaces when the bar re-opens as Remedy, in February. Too early to call, but it will be interesting to see if spots like Sonny's and Ray's manage to pull some of the Lawrenceville scene to its perimeters.
Local modern-rockers Strangeway are running down a dream this weekend, heading to Hollywood's Viper Room to play Jan. 19 with a band called The Dirty Knobs. One little thing about the Knobs: The band's guitarist and singer is Mike Campbell, whom you might know as longtime guitarist, producer and frequent co-writer for, um, Tom Petty. Score. Strangeway's next posted local show is Feb. 23 at Orchard Hill in Wexford.
The Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards took place on Sunday at the Downtown Hilton, with Wiz Khalifa taking home awards for best male artist and lyricist of the year. Baby Sis won best female artist, The Govament was best group, and E-Rock the winning producer. Best hip-hop video went to the Dat Deal DVD; Khalifa's "Pittsburgh Sound" video was nominated, which is odd in that it didn't even come out until the awards show was over. Figure that one out. The winners in the rest of the categories are online at www.pittsburghhiphopawards.com.