Bocktown singer-songwriter night brings good tunes to the 'burbs | Local Beat | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Bocktown singer-songwriter night brings good tunes to the 'burbs

The music, like the beer selection, shows sophistication

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Bocktown Beer and Grill in Robinson is somewhat of an anomaly. The uninitiated might not expect to find any type of culture there, let alone good beer — it is, after all, located in Robinson Towne Centre, planted at the end of a strip mall opposite a Target. One might expect nothing more from the live music than a college sophomore playing "Brown Eyed Girl" to a disinterested audience throwing back Blue Moons and Boston Lagers. Not only would you be wrong about the beer — Bocktown boasts a craft "beer library" with more than 400 choices and 16 rotating taps — but you'd also be pleasantly surprised by the music. 

Tuesday night at Bocktown is "singer-songwriter night," a theme that's often broadly interpreted. On a recent Tuesday, the host band was The Breadline Preachers, who live up to their name with songs of economic woe with a heavy dose of soul-saving. The two-piece specializes in extremely palatable finger-picking blues, supporting the gruff bass of Chuck Beatty's voice and the precise, cross-harp harmonica styles of Stanley Mikolajek. In contrast with expectations, they played a strong collection of originals.

That's not to say there were no covers; there were, but "Brown Eyed Girl" wasn't one of them. Instead, the audience received a varied mix of old-school folk and blues. They even covered "Sweet Georgia Brown" — when was the last time you heard that covered at a bar?

The Breadline Preachers is the type of act a songwriter wishes to hear at a bar — and the booking speaks to Bocktown's desire to bring culture to the suburbs. It seems to be working: The audience was sizable for a Tuesday night, and very attentive. 

Despite its suburban setting, Bocktown brings it; anyone who respects good beer and music would be wise to check out a Tuesday night at the bar. Ethnic jazz ensemble Marbin plays Bocktown this Tue., Dec. 4.

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