Pittsburgh’s SIDE EYE is bringing audiences a complete live experience | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Pittsburgh’s SIDE EYE is bringing audiences a complete live experience

“We just want to make our shows events, places we ourselves would want to go”

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There is something special about seeing a show that’s also an experience. Think big surprises, over-the-top costumes, compelling visuals: a whole package that sticks with you for days afterward. SIDE EYE is a relatively new Pittsburgh band hungry to create the whole package feel.

SIDE EYE’s music is irresistibly fun. On its debut full-length, La Vague, SIDE EYE shows off a sound that’s a blend of surf rock with garage vibes and a spice of yé-yé, a style of French pop from the ’60s. At times, it is high-energy and bouncy, while other tracks express a softer, prettier side. The band refers to itself as a group of rock ’n’ roll brats.

“I really love the rock ’n’ roll garage aspect, but it’s a fun outlet. Women don’t often get to be that bratty and it be celebrated,” says Carrie Battle, SIDE EYE’s drummer.

City Paper chatted with the members of SIDE EYE at Riggs Lounge, on the North Side, a place the band jokingly refers to as its office. Besides Battle, the band includes Chelsea Rumbaugh on guitar and Marie Mashyna on bass. All three contribute vocals.

On Fri., April 28, SIDE EYE will celebrate the release of La Vague at Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive along with Mystic Seers and Talkers. The three won’t say exactly what’s in store, but they share knowing smiles when prodded about the show’s content. All SIDE EYE would say is that there would be guest musicians and visual elements in collaboration with other local artists.

“We like to blur the lines between performance music with fashion and art,” says Mashyna. “It’s awesome to collaborate with other local women in their creative avenues.”

“We just want to make our shows events, places we ourselves would want to go to see something different,” adds Battle.

SIDE EYE creates a powerful live show that oozes larger-than-life fun, but it shines in its ability to make accessible tunes. The music itself is fun and palatable for music-lovers of all levels, and the lyrics are simple and relatable, from love songs to party songs to heartbreak songs.

“I’ve always loved the simplicity of lyrics and songs. I don’t think a song needs to be complicated to be good,” says Battle.

And starting with simple themes gives the audience a chance to engage in its own way.

“Once you put it out there, in a way, it’s not yours anymore,” says Mashyna, “[Listeners] pull out the things that resonate with them.”

Although the band has been together for less than a year, it hopes to keep up the big-show feel. SIDE EYE has a lot to say and is hungry to put its art into the world.

“We’re hardworking psychopaths!” jokes Mashyna.

But the band isn’t all work and no play, and the play is what makes the music and performance shine. Over the course of the conversation, there is boisterous laughter, the trio’s tight-knit bond in full view. When the three aren’t practicing music, there’s a good chance they’re eating Taco Bell at Rigg’s together, or battling at pingpong.

“We work hard, but we also play hard,” Rumbaugh adds with a smile.




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