It seems that Mr. Small's has finally figured out what some of the local bands gracing its stage have known for years: If you want people to buy advance tickets for a show in Millvale, you'd better pony up with a killer afterparty. The venue is offering no-cover afterparties for large indie shows at the nearby Brillobox, the first being July 24 after the Interpol show, featuring DJs Sean Finn and Brad Flash. You can also head to Brillobox after TV on the Radio (Aug. 3) and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Aug. 4), both DJ'd by The Frequency with special guests. Does this mean even less live music at Brillobox? Perhaps. But at least it's not another night of '80s dance or hipster karaoke -- if there's karaoke in heaven, I'll do my damnedest to get to hell.
Speaking of Mr. Small's, Lovedrug's July 14 show there had an elegiac tone, as two local openers buried their pasts. The Coldplay-esque Idiosympathy announced that this was the group's second-to-last show; the band's finale is July 28 at Sun Gin in Grove City, also the release party for its Overachiever in Love CD. Pop-rock outfit Like Summer, meanwhile, is marking a change in its personnel and sound by shedding its old moniker; the band will reportedly resume playing and recording as Good Night, States.
"The Pittsburgh Rock All-Stars" might have accurately described the super-group comprised of Eric Graf, David Bernabo, Dan Tomko and Steve Gardner; instead, the band has taken the name of its Lawrenceville environs -- The 9th Ward. Debuting at last month's Three Rivers Arts Festival, the group has just wrapped up a self-titled full-length album recorded at Graf's Blackberry Studios and featuring a Pittsburgh Who's Who of guest musicians. The CD-release show is July 20 at the Rex Theatre, with Jenn Wertz of Rusted Root opening.
Another fairly new group, currently cutting its teeth in the local rock bars, is the stylish Metropolitans, playing original R&B and swing-influenced material with none of that daddy-o baby-doll swing-revival horseshit. At a recent Thunderbird Café show, guitarist Seth Dubin led the rhythm section with a three-piece horn section in tow, while vocalist Elise Smithmyer whispered and wailed. The surprise of the evening was learning afterward that Smithmyer's sulky, ice-queen stage presence is no gimmick: She's just really new to the whole concept -- The Metropolitans are her first band. The band plays around town about every other week, sometimes with kindred souls Omega Love. Visit www.myspace.com/themetropolitans7 for show details.