Totally Wired Fest Penetrates Pittsburgh This Weekend

Box Elders Live in Oakland at Stork Club 2009, photo by <a href=
Box Elders Live in Oakland at Stork Club 2009, photo by Canderson
posted Friday Apr 17th, 2009

This weekend in Pittsburgh, PA the Criminal IQ-sponsored fest known as Totally Wired takes off and claims another city in its wake. Formerly hosted in Chicago, the fest was moved to the new locale this year and should be a great change of scenery, not to mention a great chance to check out yet another city you might not normally pass through. With the streamlined show now taking place over two days, this incredible lineup is poised and ready to blast right up in your face. Kicking it off Friday at Belvedere's are local golden slime balls Kim Phuc, who have everything going for them in terms or gut-level animosity and hard-ride hatred, and seeing them knock the lid off the joint this early in the night will be an opportunity you won't wanna miss. As the other locals on the bill tonight, Baby Bird really elude any preconceived judgment based on their fuzzy and warm-sounding band name, but rest assured this face-flipping, soul-crushing band can't wait to turn you out, and expose you for the inner pussy you really are. Two of Pittsburgh's finest for sure, so don't get caught with your pants around your ankles and be sure to see these two stellar opening bands.

As the night shifts into gear, lube up your frontal lobes with the Messerschmidt-style aural attacks from proven life-wreckers Terrible Twos, insane garbage-punk clairvoyants Homostupids, and the pummeling death knell-ringers from NYC known as Drunkdriver, who have that special knack of causing still-born children to be ripped from the wimpy guts of androgynous college boys who didn't even think they could get pregnant. Yes, you'll be thrilled at all this energy and intensity so much that you may be even tempted to drink more than you should, but this time we can all agree, you should. Up next are Philadelphia's avant punk head-scratchers, FNU Ronnies, who break themselves so far from the mold, it's hard to tell what intoxicants they endorse, yet it's official that you'll be far past overdose level based on their live potency. Keep an eye out for these freaks to be disemboweling your relatives much sooner than you'd like, and try your darndest to grab their debut 7" if you still can find a copy.

Rounding out the Friday ensemble are Miami's fast-rising shape-shifters, Electric Bunnies, who are still blowing minds after three 7" EPs worth of riotous modern punk twisting, and should be one of the stage stealers of the night, for sure. Their upcoming LP on Florida's Dying this year should be a lock, so keep your eyes peeled for their next platter with high anxiety. Pink Reason slide up to the plate next, and although their songs tend to break down the frustration levels to opiate-daydream waves of unknown pleasure, their ever-expanding song list shows that they've always got the power to captivate even the most drunk and furious retards with an amazing grace. Signing off your brainwaves for the first night are guaranteed show-stoppers of the year, Human Eye, who revel in the fact that it's never a contest to challenge their insane musical creativity, and with Detroit's finest byproduct Timmy Vulgar drooling at the helm, they always take the cake. Like a writhing Gorgon straight out of Clash of the Titans, Timmy and Human Eye will burn their image right into the impressionable tissues of your frazzled brain, and they won't soon be forgotten.

Saturday morning will be a real bummer, but dragging yourself out from under that bench and getting over to Mr. Roboto Projects for the daytime show is going to have to be a priority. Kicking off the showcase are Brown Sugar, The Catburglars, Slices and Austin, TX's carelessly rambunctious Naw Dude, who have easily won the best band name prize at this year's event. The brain-drilling good times just keep popping off with Chicago's Smith Westerns as they take the stage next, knocking out hit after hit from their glitterously glammified upcoming HoZac LP assuredly, and bowling over any non-believers still standing on their feet. Up next are the Buffalo, NY band Plates who have a simple and unassuming name, but pack a serious punch in the groin, despite their insidious moniker. Capping off the day-show are Brain Handle, who are always down for raising a roof and smashing the state, so don't spill beer all down the front of your pants just yet, but you should be in fine shape for the rest of the night.

Saturday night at Howler's Coyote Cafe, you'd better keep chuggin' or you'll never make it through this experience alive, and don't miss out on Pittsburgh's Savage Lines. One of a handful of local bands employing Dan from Rot Shit, Radio Beats, Test Patterns, etc. and one surely not to miss. Same goes for the blazing strength of the Burndowns, and yet another set by The Smith Westerns, it will probably seem too good to be true. Then, after a rare appearance by hometown In The Red/Birdman Records boys, Modey Lemon, Omaha's smash hitmakers Box Elders swoop down and dig their claws in deep, with an armload of pop gems that stick to your guts and latch onto your good-time receptors like a parasite. It's gonna be just hit after hit at this point, so you might wanna blast yourself out little "further" and get your third eye ready for an invasion from Chicago's psychedelic mind-fuckers, Vee Dee as they wash away your inner fears and sanctify the perimeters with an unstoppable penetrating buzz. Oddly enough, Lafayette, IN's TV Ghost take the stage next and watch as they crackle and fry under the hot stage lights, as their polymorphic noise mesmerizes and castrates simultaneously and quite effectively, laying the groundwork for the next slot with disgusting ease. Rounding out the fest and taking it all back home, Cheater Slicks will numb the gums and dilate the pupils of anyone still standing, as they drill down their signature loner/psyche jams into the darkness of the night, taking everyone prisoner into their eternally black outer-world regime. With 25 years of noise making under their belt, these guys can do whatever comes natural and still make it a spectacle, and that's really saying something in this modern day world of fleeting trends and flash-in-the-pan rock gods that falter more often than not.