Go, Go, Go To A Late Night Show (At Club Cafe)

Achievement: #90. Club Cafe Late Show

One of the things I love most about Pittsburgh is its abundance of affordable live music. Back in my college days, one of my favorite activities was something I called “Mystery Band.” That is, I’d pick a show at random and just go, without regard to who was playing, what they played, or whether I’d ever heard of them. I encountered some duds that way, definitely, but also a lot of gems. One of the more reliable ways to discover cool new music on the cheap was by heading on down to the late show at Club Cafe on the South Side.

So one night last month, Fox and I decided to try some of that old magic and head on down to see a new mystery band: the Binghamton-based Driftwood.

Club Cafe Late Show
Within a dozen minutes of the doors opening, the place was packed. (Evidently, Driftwood was a mystery band only to us.) Seating is limited at Club Cafe, so if you don’t like being on your feet, I’d suggest arriving quite early.

Soon, the lights went down and the opening band came on. They were a locally based husband-wife duo called The Wreckids.

Club Cafe Late Show
I should note that The Wreckids were not a mystery band to me, though I’d never heard them live. They were so much fun! Good songcraft, lots of humor, and just a contagious joy radiating from the stage.

Club Cafe Late Show
It was pretty powerful radiation, too, seeing as we could feel it all the way back behind about 10 rows of sardine-packed hipsters. (Who, I should note, were quite rudely loud during the performance. I mean, I know you’re there for another band, but courtesy, folks. It’s a small room, not to mention the fact that you missed out on something lovely, too.)

Club Cafe Late Show
Anyhow, about an hour later, onto the stage came Driftwood.

Club Cafe Late Show
At first, noting the stand-up bass, lack of drums, and the beardful lead, I was a little worried that it was going to be more of that hyper-earnest Mumford-and-Sons-y stuff that ClearChannel has kind of OD’d me on lately. But you know what?

Club Cafe Late Show
Driftwood brought some swing, some jazz, even a little R&B feel to the proceedings. It had more layers than I was expecting, and it was really enjoyable.

Club Cafe Late Show
And the violin player! She had some real chops, and her vocals added a nice extra dimension, too.

Club Cafe Late Show
Ultimately, The Wreckids and Driftwood were very different bands — different in tone, size, volume, overall project — but both brought a lot of joy to their performances. I’d absolutely check either one out again.

Speaking of which! While Driftwood won’t be back in Pittsburgh any time in the next three months, you can see The Wreckids play quite soon — on this Thursday, March the 6th, in fact. Where, you ask? Why, right at Club Cafe. (This time in the earlier show slot at 8pm.) Fox and I heartily suggest you have your own excursion!

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Filed under #90, #90-14, late night, music, south side

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