The Homeless Gospel Choir record release party!

On Friday, August 18th, The Homeless Gospel Choir, also known as Derek Zanetti, will be celebrating the release of his new album “Normal” with a concert at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls! The concert will also feature special guests Rue and Jack Swing.

Zanetti is a protest singer-songwriter from Pittsburgh who found his place in the punk movement at an early age. When he was young, Zanetti never truly belonged. “I felt weird. I was in sixth grade. I was chubby. I was getting beat up. I didn’t fit in anywhere particularly. I was always longing for unity and togetherness, and I never found my niche anywhere.”

Then in 1994, Zanetti’s life changed when a fellow misfit kid handed him a cassette of Green Day’s “Dookie.” Despite the fact that his strict parents forbid the album, Zanetti had found his place. “I remember that feeling of hearing it for the first time. I had never heard anything like it before, I never heard anyone get angry before. It was different than anything I’d heard on the radio…I listened to ‘Dookie,’ and I felt like something else good is out there and I should go look for it.”

Now, twenty-three years later, Zanetti is making his own punk albums with the message that his audience is not alone. He also spreads this message through his performances, striving to create a community among his fans. “Everybody should be able to come and feel like they belong, or find friendship…If you feel like you’re weird and you don’t know anybody and you can’t relate to anybody, there’s a whole room filled with you guys.”

On his newest album “Normal,” to be released August 18th, Zanetti tells the story of his misfit childhood and finding solace in punk music. “It tells the whole tale of this young person who is always conflicted and trying to find hope and trying to find belonging and does so in this group of weird misfit punk kids. And it talks about living in Pittsburgh…and finding companionship in peculiar places.”

Zanetti will be performing “Normal” in its entirety during his show at the Funhouse.

Doors open at 7:00 and the show starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $10 and can still be found here. Come out and celebrate the release of this new album with a fun concert! Hope to see you there!

For a sneak peek of the new album, watch the video for the title single “Normal” below!

A Fairy Tale Ending: Andrew and Emily Bowman Wedding

On Saturday, August 5th, Mr. Smalls Theatre was pleased to be the host of a lovely wedding for Andrew and Emily Bowman. From start to finish, the couple’s special day was beautiful and filled with loads of love and fun. Mr. Smalls Theatre, regularly host to a slew of concerts, was transformed into a romantic setting for Andrew and Emily to celebrate with their friends and family.

For Andrew and Emily, hosting their wedding at Mr. Smalls Theatre added an extra special touch to their big day. In 1984, Emily’s parents were married at St. Ann’s Church which was later turned into Mr. Smalls. Thirty-three years after her parents said “I do”, Emily and Andrew were able to celebrate their day in the same venue.

Thank you, Emily and Andrew, for letting us host your special day! We hope it was a day you will never forget!

Would you like to have your wedding at Mr. Smalls? The Mr. Smalls staff will transform the theatre into the perfect setting to say “I do” with chairs facing the stage as the couple exchanges vows. Afterward, while guests enjoy cocktail hour in the Funhouse, the staff will change the theatre into a reception hall complete with tables and a dance floor.

If you would like to celebrate your wedding at Mr. Smalls Theatre, please email our Events Director Shaunden Smith at shaunden@mrsmalls.com for more information.

The Wild Reeds bring their beautiful harmonies to The Funhouse!

On Friday, August 4th The Wild Reeds will be coming to the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls with special guest Angela Autumn! Fronted by three women, The Wild Reeds has a unique sound that revolves around their three part vocal harmonies. Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva, and Mackenzie Howe share the duties of lead vocals throughout their set while playing an array of supporting instruments such as the harmonica and the acoustic guitar. They are also joined by Nick Jones on the drums and Nick Phakpiseth on the bass.

The Wild Reeds began to form in college when Lee and Silva met. They then added Howe into the mix to create their signature harmonies. All three women are songwriters as well with each one bringing their own individual writing styles to their music. The ladies feel that this creates a special “fourth voice” for their band. Howe says, “What brings us together is the three part vocal harmony. When we’re all singing together, it really becomes one unique voice.”

With their sophomore album The World We Built, released in April 2017, The Wild Reeds have been able to showcase their ever changing sound. Says Howe, “Our sound has evolved as we have evolved as people. We’ve also grown as musicians and it’s allowed us to explore new instruments and sounds. This new record is a much more accurate depiction of what we sound like live. It’s got more punch and depth.” The band has also garnered quite a bit of buzz with NPR saying, “It’s somewhat rare to find three singers so in sync as The Wild Reeds’ Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva and Mackenzie Howe. Rarer still is the trio’s songwriting skills…”

The Wild Reeds ultimately hope that their music and live performances can make an impact on their audiences and affect their lives for the better. “We’ve learned that people are just looking for authenticity. If we’re vulnerable, people feel it,” says Howe. “We always want to put on a show that has energy and leaves peoples feeling more hopeful than when they arrived.”

Doors open at 8:00 pm and the music starts at 9:00 pm. This is an 18 and over event. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the doors. You can still find tickets here. Don’t miss out on this awesome show! Hope to see you there!

Come Out TOMORROW And Support Out Of The Blue & Real Life Music Camp!

Tomorrow Friday, July 28th Out Of The Blue will be reuniting at Mr. Smalls Theatre for a rare appearance with special guests Liz Berlin Band,  Real Life Music Campers, and more!  Out Of The Blue formed in the 1990’s in State College and cultivated a large fan base and reputation as the quintessential party band in the area. The band found success in the Pittsburgh music scene when they won the Graffiti Rock Challange, which was a career-defining accomplishment, in 1993. After their win, one local magazine stated, “These college kids have a genuine passion for quality music and they’ve learned their lessons well. There’s a maturity to their sound that belies their true ages…”

As Out Of The Blue garnered more buzz, they began to play with other famous local Pittsburgh acts including Rusted Root. This is how Out Of The Blue bassist Mike Speranzo met Rusted Root’s Liz Berlin, his future wife and business partner.  After Out Of The Blue graduated from the college scene, the band members moved onto different projects. For Speranzo, this meant opening Mr. Smalls Recording Studio with his wife in March of 1997. Since the creation of the recording studio, Speranzo and Berlin have gone onto several other business ventures including opening Mr. Smalls Theatre and Funhouse as well as founding a non-profit called Creative.Life.Support.

Through Creative. Life. Support, Speranzo and Berlin host the Real Life Music Camp each summer.  During the camp, aspiring young musicians gain knowledge and experience from music industry professionals, including Berlin who shares her life experiences with Rusted Root.  Throughout the week-long camp, the campers work on original music, have band photo shoots, and ultimately walk away with a full band press kit.  The musicians are also mentored by these professionals who teach about every aspect of the industry from concert booking to web presence. At the end of the week, the campers will also have the opportunity to perform live on the Mr. Smalls Theatre stage as one of the openers for Out Of The Blue! This is sure to be a jam-packed show you won’t want to miss!

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the music starts at 7:00 p.m. Entrance for the Real Life Music Camp show is free and guests are welcome to stay for the remainder of the show! So if you would like to come and support the kids, the Out Of The Blue show will be free.  Otherwise, tickets for the Out Of The Blue show are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can still be found here. We hope to see you TOMORROW for this exciting show!!

 

Lady Parts Justice League’s Vagical Mystery Tour coming to Pittsburgh!

On Wednesday July 19th, the Lady Parts Justice League will be coming to the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls with their Vagical Mystery Tour! Lady Parts Justice League (LPJL) was founded in 2015 by Lizz Winstead, co-creator and head writer of The Daily Show. Since its creation, LPJL has stood by its mission to use humor to destigmatize abortion and fight for reproductive rights in the United States.

Lady Parts Justice League found their name after a 2012 incident that occurred in the House involving Lisa Brown, a former Michigan state representative and well-known advocate for abortion rights, and the Speaker of the House. While fighting against a transvaginal ultrasound bill, Brown was banned from the speaking on the floor by the Speaker of the House for using the word vagina as he deemed it too offensive.  When Brown asked what word she should use instead, the Speaker suggested a less offensive term such as “lady parts.” This incident inspired LPJL to take up Brown’s fight and use “lady parts” in their name.

Among the many ways Lady Parts Justice League fights for reproductive rights is through an annual touring comedy show.  This year’s show is entitled the Vagical Mystery Tour. The show consists of, “a coven of hilarious and witty feminist comedians and writers who use humor and pop culture to expose the haters fighting against reproductive rights.” The Vagical Mystery Tour uses a variety of diverse voices to spread the word about reproductive rights as well as fight against sexism, racism, and homophobia.

In addition to touring with their show, Lady Parts Justice League provides much needed support to local clinics. Self-described as, “the USO meets Habitat for Humanity for abortion clinics,” LPJL supports clinics through a variety of ways including volunteering as clinic escorts, putting up fences, and painting murals.

Each show includes an assortment of special guests with this show featuring Joyelle Johnson (Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Leah Bonnema (IFC Comedy Crib), Buzz Off, Lucille (Upright Citizens Brigade), and Jill Sobule.

Doors open at 7:00 pm and the show starts at 7:30 pm. This is a 21 and over event. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the doors. Tickets can still be found here. You won’t want to miss what is sure to be a hilarious night! Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Don’t Miss Your Chance To Attend Real Life Music Camp!

During the week of July 24-28, Mr. Smalls and Creative.Life.Support will be hosting their annual Real Life Music Camp! This camp is aimed at aspiring youth musicians, typically ages 10-18, who want to learn about the many aspects of the music industry including concert booking, band dynamics, and web presence.  Campers will gain knowledge from and be mentored by real musicians including Pittsburgh’s own Liz Berlin of Rusted Root. At the end of the week-long camp, all campers will perform live on stage at Mr. Smalls Theater! In addition, each camper will be walking away with a full band press kit!

Camp is from 10am-5pm Monday-Thursday at Mr. Smalls Recording Studio in Pittsburgh. Friday camp will take place at Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale from 10am-5pm with a final concert at 7pm. You can reserve your child’s spot in this year’s Real Life Music Camp here.

Spots are filling up fast! Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience!

Celebrate Punchline’s 20th Anniversary Tour with very special guests The Berlin Project!

On Saturday, July 8th local pop-punk band Punchline, with special guests The Berlin Project, Two Birds, and Drop the Act, will be coming to Mr. Smalls Theater for their 20th anniversary tour! Formed in 1997 by three high school friends, Punchline has had many different lineups over the years. However, two of the founding members, Steve Soboslai and Chris Fafalios, remain and they pride themselves on the innovative music they have created throughout their career.

Originally, Punchline’s sound was a pop and ska influenced punk but with each new record release, Punchline found their sound more. Ultimately the band became, “a rock band with extreme pop sensibility.” Over the course of their 20-year career, Punchline has continually experimented with their music, amassing a strong and loyal fanbase with this approach. In addition to touring, the band plans to release a yet-to-be-named album in 2017 that will showcase further musical progression.

Not only is Punchline celebrating their 20th anniversary, but The Berlin Project, another local punk band, is also reuniting for one night only! The Berlin Project formed in 1995 and found success on Napster with their cover of Snoop Dog’s “Gin and Juice.” The band remained active until 2005. Founder John Garrighan, who was only 14 years old when he formed the band, described The Berlin Project’s sound as, “pop-rock but at times the music gets a little harder edged…still focusing on melodies and tunes. That’s what gets our jollies off, crafting a song that will stay in somebody’s head and make them feel something.”

During their 10 years, the band released 3 studio albums as well as 1 EP all while touring with other acts such as The Matches, The Juliana Theory, and Punchline. The Berlin Project briefly reunited in 2009, but have not reunited again until now in part due to Garrighan’s death in 2011. The band will be performing songs from Culture Clash, Transition Radio EP & The Things We Say with the original members and Garrighan’s brother Dan Garrighan.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance and $18 at the door.  You can still find tickets here. Come out and help Punchline celebrate their 20th anniversary! Hope to see you there!

 

The River’s Edge Finds a New Home at Mr. Smalls

The River’s Edge, Pittsburgh’s only 24/7 local music radio station, has found a new home at Mr. Smalls following a June 19th fire that displaced them from their previous studios at Millvale Studios. While nobody was injured in the fire, the building and much of its contents were damaged. The River’s Edge is moving to a four room recording studio in the back of Mr. Small’s. Previous recording artists of this studio include Anti-Flag, 50 Cent, and Black Eyed Peas.

Mr. Smalls and The River’s Edge, who are both dedicated to supporting local music, plan to collaborate on future projects that will make local music more accessible. Brian Crawford, co-owner of The River’s Edge, stated, “It’s a great opportunity for us to broadcast from such an iconic venue that’s supportive of the local music scene.” Mr. Smalls’ co-owners Liz Berlin and Mike Speranzo expressed similar sentiments, “We are extremely excited to welcome The River’s Edge under the Mr. Smalls Roof. We’ve admired their dedication to highlighting Pittsburgh’s local music scene over the last couple years. Our mission here at Mr. Smalls has always been to expand awareness of area musician and provide new opportunities for growth, so we feel this is a wonderful collaboration for all.”

The new River’s Edge studio will be open for tours on Monday July 3rd, when AcoustiCafe Open Stage, together with The River’s Edge and the larger Mr. Smalls Theatre family present a special Open Stage night to benefit the artists and community of Millvale Studios. Acousticafe takes place every Monday and is an opportunity for local artists to network with their peers, test new music or haul out old favorites and most importantly, extend their reach in the local scene. This Monday’s theme will be “FIRE BURNS, BUT ART RETURNS!”, hosted by Bryan McQuaid and the show will feature Joshua Black Wilkins. The show is 21+ and entry is a “pay what you wish” donation to benefit the Millvale Studios and artists. Doors and performance sign-ups are at 6:00 p.m and the music starts at 7 p.m.

Cobi’s Pittsburgh debut!

On Wednesday, July 5th singer-songwriter Cobi will be performing at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls! Hailing from Minnesota, Cobi discovered his passion for music at an early age.  When Cobi was eight years old, a family friend brought an electric guitar to his house and showed him how to play a couple chords.  From that moment on Cobi was hooked and began mowing lawns in order to earn money to purchase a guitar. After buying his first guitar, Cobi taught himself how to play music by ear by listening to a song over and over again until he could play the whole song. With early influences such as Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, and Fleetwood Mac, Cobi has cultivated a soulful sound in his music.

The former frontman of indie band Gentlemen Hall, Cobi embarked on his solo career in 2014. After signing with 300 Entertainment, Cobi released his first single “Don’t You Cry For Me” in May 2016. Since it’s release, the single has garnered over 24 million plays on Spotify. Cobi also gained attention after he released a video for his single that speaks to current racial tensions in America. Although Cobi is a new artist, he has already made a name for himself and plans to continue releasing music with his unique perspective.

Doors open at 7:00 and music starts at 8:00! Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door. You can still find tickets here. Don’t miss out on this awesome show!

The Regrettes bring their punk rock sound to the Funhouse!

The Regrettes_1

On Sunday, June 25th LA-based band The Regrettes will be coming to the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls! Consisting of 16-year-old frontwoman Lydia Night, 19-year-old guitarist Genessa Gariano, 17-year-old drummer Maxx Morando, and 18-year-old bassist Sage Nicole, the band expertly blends a punk rock sound with a 50’s and 60’s inspired pop aesthetic.

After meeting through a music program, the group formed at the end of 2015 and released their debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool! in early 2017. Despite their young age, The Regrettes have a mature viewpoint that they infuse in their lyrics.  Night, who wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, says their lyrics explain the struggle of growing up. “…Usually the main things are boys, friendships, relationships with people like my family, just being confused in general . . . being a teenager is so confusing and weird. You’re finding yourself, and you’re in that place where there’s a lot of pressure to find yourself. All of the songs are taking you through that journey.” With lyrics that tackle the issue of being insecure, falling in and out of love, and friendships ending, everyone can find something to connect with in The Regrettes music.

Feel your feelings fool!

At the end of the day with their heart-on-your-sleeve style, The Regrettes just want everyone to feel their feelings. As Night explains,  “My main goal with my music is to let people know that you don’t need to be cool or look a certain way or appear a certain way. Having feelings and being honest is cool. You’re fine.”

Doors open at 7:00 pm and the music starts at 7:30 pm! Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. You can still find tickets here. Hope to see you there!