TRAF: Tank and the Bangas, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
The final weekend of the Three Rivers Arts Festival brought acts with Pittsburgh stories. Tank and the Bangas, whose rise to big stardom included top honors in the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Awards, came to Pittsburgh early on because a small organization called Music Night on Jupiter: https://archive.triblive.com/aande/music/hampton-music-lovers-pay-it-forward-with-traveling-musicians/
They came back for the third or fourth time to a full house at TRAF. It was zany, it was political, it was mood swings, it was spoken word, it was headbanging.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe was originally slated for a weekday performance, but scheduling issues brought him to primetime at the festival weekend finale. The crowd was smaller than hoped, maybe because of the weather concerns, but that same crowd braved the late rainstorm until the end. Karl told the story of a Mr. Small’s concert several years ago, and how the song “Millvale, PA” came to being on his latest album, “Gnomes & Badgers.”
Tangent: Backstage before the show, I met his guitarist DJ Williams, whose band Shots Fired I saw open for Soulive at Ardmore Music Hall near Philadelphia last year. It would be great for Shots Fired to bring it here one of these days.
Nona Hendryx (and Funky Fly Project)
Two members of the proto-funk trio Labelle will be at Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Patti Labelle and Nona Hendryx. Nona, a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition, joins forces with Detroit’s Jessica Care Moore to deliver “Black Women Who Rock,” a tribute to Pittsburgh’s own Betty Davis. If I had to pick one must-see piece of PIJF 2019, it is this.
Nona graciously recorded an interview for The Soul Show in 2016, right after she spearheaded the acclaimed Bernie Worrell tribute concert in NYC. I replayed a segment on WYEP on 6/15. (This episode also features a new Funky Fly Project track that will be officially released at the end of June.)
Here are some of the individual segments from the original airing. The first one covers the origins of Labelle.
soulshowmike’s Shows of Note, 6/17 – 6/23
In addition to virtually the entire set of PIJF offerings,
- Lee Robinson & ISKA at Piazza Talarico’s, 6/20
- Lynn Speakman Quintet at Kingfly Spirits, 6/20
- Das/Rossman/Potter at Backstage Bar 6/21