Saturday was good. I got to spend time with family, drink a few (well maybe more than a few) beers, see one of my favorite bands (who happened to play a couple of songs by a favorite musician of all time), sell a few records, buy a couple of records, and bullshit with a great local MC. Yeah, it was all happening and it was pretty great.
The third annual Pittonkatonk Fest was taking place in Schenley Park here in Pittsburgh. I had a blast at last year’s edition and I was really looking forward to this one. The forecast was calling for early-evening storms, so I was super glad to find out that Opek was going on fairly early at 3:30. There’s not much more that I need to say about Ben Opie and his various projects that I haven’t said on the blog already other than that Opek doesn’t play nearly enough these days and that it was really nice to see this stripped down guitar-less version. The jazz/funk/big band vibe was much different than most of the other bands playing that day. But, it was refreshing and the crowd really dug it. Of the 6 or 7 (?) songs in their set, two were Miles Davis pieces and favorites of mine, “It’s About That Time” and “Jean-Pierre”. Here’s a short video of their funky take on “Jean-Pierre”. I would have recorded the whole song if I didn’t get the infamous “storage full” warning on my phone. Apologies to George Jones for cutting off his conga solo!
The next stop for me was home to grab a few crates of records to sell at Spirit in Lawrenceville. The Pittsburgh Record Fest has been happening biannually for years now, and this was probably the 6th or 7th that I’ve sold at. As usual, the room was filled with a bunch of great records and I had to use great restraint to avoid spending most or all of the money I made. But for the money, I did come away with two good ones that I’ve never seen before. I also got to chat with local rapper/producer Moemaw Naedon who happened to be my neighbor for the night. If if don’t know about him, you need to check him out ASAP. I’m a fan of his work and it was nice talking with him about music, digging, concerts, stolen shoes, whatever.
After the sale, I made my way downstairs to finally try the pizza from Slice Island and meet up with some more friends. DJ Tom Cox, who I know from the period of time that 720 Records was located inside of Jerry’s, was in the booth rocking a 720 t-shirt printed by yours truly. Overall, this was a really fun and diverse Saturday well spent with family and friends new and old. Now that summer is approaching, I’m looking forward to many more like it.
YouTube is now available to stream on a Roku box and therefore to watch on the TV in my living room. As someone who does not have cable and who doesn’t watch much television in general, this is huge! A few months ago, I discovered the Crate Diggers series by Fuse that goes inside the homes of DJ’s, producers, musicians, etc. to show off their record collections and to share record related stories and experiences.
Last night, I watched an episode featuring House Shoes, an LA-based DJ from Detroit who has worked with J Dilla, Danny Brown, Black Milk and others. House Shoes was DJ’ing at the Round Corner Cantina as part of their Gold Series on May 24th, the same night as Record Fest 11, and he happened to buy a few of my records as well as check out the copy of Common’s Resurrection that I had just bought.
All of the episodes are worth watching, and I still need to see more of them, but some of the standouts for me so far have been Gaslamp Killer (below) and Egon from Now Again Records. With the exception of my drum kit, records are really the only physical object I’m interested in owning (along with something to play them on) and these videos make me want to buy more, many more. So aside from it’s effect on my bank account, I’m a big fan of this series. Check it out.
Several of my nights last week were spent getting records ready for the 11th Pittsburgh Record Fest in Lawrenceville. I looked at so many records that, by Saturday, I was actually a bit tired of looking a records and this kind of worked in my favor. I normally try really hard to use restraint at these things and avoid buying too many things in order to come away with a pocket full of cash at the end of the night.
On Saturday morning, I set up a little pre-show trade with a fellow vendor who is into alot of the same kind of music (jazz, soul, funk, etc.). That trade worked out really well for both of us. I came away with 4 really nice jazz records, a couple of which I had never seen, Roy Haynes‘ Out Of The Afternoon (feat. Roland Kirk) & Sonny Stitt‘s Black Vibrations). So, being that this trade had occurred and I had already acquired 4 really nice records that day, I really didn’t care if I got anything at the fest. I just really wanted to drink a few beers and GET RID of stuff.
From a sales stand point, I did really well, definitely my most successful record fest yet. My sales, as well as those of several other vendors in the room, were boosted by 2 guys from Australia who were seriously loading up. I saw them wheeling out about 8 U-Haul boxes of recent acquisitions about half way through the night. One of the guys told me that he sells records at shows and festivals back in Australia and ships stuff back there from the US by the pallet. I also sold a few things to and chatted with LA-based DJ/producer DJ House Shoes, who was in town to spin records at the Round Corner Cantina that night.
Along with a great T-shirt from Pgh based artist/print maker Mike Budai, I did come away with a couple of records from the fest including Sextant by Herbie Hancock and a really nice copy of Common‘s Resurrection.