Two years ago at the Rex Theatre, 3 Apples High played its final show. On the front lip of the stage, drummer Kevin Ignatius effortlessly combined electronic beats and samples with his acoustic drum kit, as his bassist brother Mark and keyboardist Justin Bechak locked into a series of exploratory, instrumental grooves. As the trio's live version of drum 'n' bass spiraled out into ever proggier waters, I recall looking around the gyrating, near-capacity crowd and wondering, "Who are all these people? Where did they come from?" We'll never really know.
Shortly after releasing their 2005 album Metrobotik, the band members began to go their separate ways: Bechak to China for a teaching gig; Kevin to Los Angeles; and Mark to the wilds of medical school. Cue "young people leaving Pittsburgh" hand-wringing.
But those present at that final show -- and everyone else who followed 3 Apples High over its three-year career on the local scene -- have something to celebrate this weekend, as the band reunites for two local shows. The first concert takes place Fri., Aug. 8, at the South Side's Rex Theatre, with the Mon River Ramblers. The next night, Sat., Aug. 9, the band takes its danceable beats to Shadow Lounge, in East Liberty; both shows feature DJs Nice Rec and EN.
While playing in rock bands seems to have a particularly magnetic pull for the Y chromosome, the local scene's not a total dude-fest; next week, six musicians and groups highlight women's contributions to local music. The event, Chicks Rockfest, takes place Sat., Aug. 16, at Club Café, and features performances by alt-crooner Phat Man Dee, global beats from Soma Mestizo, fronted by multi-disciplinary artist Christiane D., and upbeat rockers Lovebettie, featuring the big-voiced Alexandra Naples. The show also features the long-running Tangerine (currently working on a new album) and two newer acts that combine female vocals with darker tones and sequenced beats: the trip-hop feel of Una de Luna, fronted by Marla Degenhardt, and gothy electronic duo Debutante, featuring Jennifer O'Lexa.
The Chicks Rockfest performance series got started eight years back, in Cincinnati. Eventually it grew into occasional regional tours, and is now expanding into showcases in several cities -- Nashville, Louisville, Columbus, New York and, of course, here in Pittsburgh. To perform at one of these events, which take place here two to three times a year, submit your press kit at www.sonicbids.com/chicksrockfestseries or visit www.chicksrockfest.net.