It's Saturday night at the Smiling Moose, and Adam Rahuba is talking shit on himself.
"If there's a DJ that claims to be the worst DJ in Pittsburgh — I'm worse," he says with a laugh.
Rahuba, 33, of Highland Park, might merely be using self-deprecation to deflect his anxiety over the latest in a string of recent successes. His weekly dance parties at the Moose have become a hit, and they're only one facet of his central exploit: resurrecting Pittpunk, his longtime local-music website.
Rahuba created Pittpunk in 1996 at the Beechview library. Over time, it expanded to become an online directory and message board for all things relevant to the local punk scene.
In 1999, Rahuba started booking shows under the Pittpunk banner. "Thursday, The All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance," he says, ticking them off his fingers. "I have a knack for booking bands right before they blow up."
The venture lasted until 2008, when Rahuba decided he was going to, in his words, "try to become an adult."
"I took a job — I married into a job as a financial adviser, which is not my scene at all," he explains. "I just absolutely loathed it. And then, my marriage fell apart. I moved back to town, and I saw the opportunity to reboot and start everything fresh."
Less than a year into the relaunch, Pittpunk, which Rahuba runs full time with help from his girlfriend, Laura Conrad, is a mix of standard music-blog fare — ticket giveaways, album reviews — and essays on scene culture and beyond. When some country-music fans trashed the Heinz Field parking lot last summer, Rahuba launched a widely circulated petition to, as he put it, "ban these concerts from the city until the fans learn how to act in a civilized city." He's also back to promoting smaller local shows.
"Pittsburgh music has always been the number-one thing driving me in my life now, for 20 years," he says, preparing to take the stage. "If I can help bands to grow, if I can help venues to start selling out, and I can keep myself not homeless, then I'm in good shape."