Forty-Five… European Street Music

Recently we took a four week trip through Europe. We started in Amsterdam and finished in Prague. I made a vow to myself that I would take video of every street musician we saw. Some were great, some not so great but all provided an interesting taste of the countries we traveled through. What I like as much as the music is the action in the streets around the performers. Watch until the end and take a look at the “gold statues” behind the performers.

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Yo La Tengo at Carnegie Music Hall

So we were on our way to Boston for Thanksgiving a few years ago and stopped at a rest stop on The Mass Pike. My daughter and wife found me standing in front of the Men’s Room door staring intently at the door. They gave me a strange look and shrugged and I said, “Any second Trey Anastasio is going to walk out that door.” They both laughed but I had seen him go in when I was leaving and almost on cue he walked out the door.

Predictably my wife and daughter both shrieked TREY and he smiled and walked over to talk to us. After a minute he asked an interesting question, “So how did this happen?” wanting to know how our family became Phish Fans. We told him that we had been taking our daughter to Grateful Dead shows since she was 7 years old and now she was taking us to Phish shows. He nodding saying, “That makes sense.”

So why am I telling you this? It wasn’t really accurate. We still bought the tickets and actually it was my Godson who really introduced us to Phish. However when my daughter was in graduate school she surprised us by buying tickets and taking us to our first Yo La Tengo show in Maxwell”s Pub in Hoboken. Last night we saw the band deliver an awesome performance at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh. Of course it made me think of my daughter but also of meeting Trey Anastasio all those years ago and thinking he would also think that this also made sense.

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ylt1

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Matt Aquiline and The Highballers at Club Cafe

When we moved back to Pittsburgh in 2014 we really lucked out in a lot of ways. Of course neighbors sometimes can be a liability when buying a house. Just ask me about Long Island sometime. However, Regent Square is a wonderful Pittsburgh neighborhood and we have great neighbors. One bonus we couldn’t have planned for is that one of our neighbors is a singer-songwriter.

I have great respect for songwriters, they are poets. As a novelist, yes I can say that, I am even more impressed. It’s hard enough to think up the words let alone set them to music. Our local poet is Matt Aquiline and he writes alternative country rock music that is humorous and heartwarming and never depressing. Last night he played at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh with his new band and they were awesome. They were proceeded by The Highballers with Belén Pifel, who used to sing with Matt when they lived in Washington. At the end of the night Belén Pifel and John Woolf joined Matt and his new band for a great finish. Here are some images from the show.

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Matt Aquiline with Belén Pifel  and John Woolf

Matt Aquiline with Belen Pifel and John Woolf

The Highballers

The Highballers

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Belen Pifel

Belén Pifel

Matt Aquiline, Belén Pifel  and John Woolf

Matt Aquiline, Belen Pifel and John Woolf

Post Number One Thousand

On February 2 of 2012 I started this blog with this very same image. This image of Captain Beefheart at the Pittsburgh Syria Mosque is very special to me. It was the first time I was every back stage while a band performed. It was my first color print. I took it during my first year of photography with my first Nikon camera. It was the first image I posted to my commercial online site. It was my first online sale. It was also the first image I ever had stolen and unfortunately has been used on a few bootleg recordings.

I thought it was fitting for repost today. I started this blog as a way to express myself mostly through my images but also through commentary on things I like. I have kept it mostly non political and about my favorite subject; photography. The blog has helped achieve some small success with my novel and other books but I mostly keep posting because I find it enjoyable and challenging.Thanks to all my followers around the world and the people that have purchased my products. Hope you will stay tuned for the next 1000!

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Zoothorn Rollo with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

Zoothorn Rollo with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

Frank Zappa at Syria Mosque

I recently realized that a couple of years ago I offered for sale on my commercial site a t-shirt that said Frank Zappa at the Syria Masque. I sold a number of these T-Shirts and although not my best seller I was pleased that some people liked it. Recently it was pointed out to me that I had misspelled Syria Mosque. Not wanting to remove my previous item from sale, I created a new one with a different image and the correct venue.

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Neighbors that Rock

In our life we have had some good luck with creative neighbors. In Montclair we lived next door to Janet Aldrich who was a musical comedy actress with a great voice. She actually borrowed our dog for a one month run in Anything Goes. Janet Shaw lived across the street. She was a set designer for many Woody Allen movies and when we knew her she worked on The Sopranos.

When we moved back to Pittsburgh we were excited to meet our new neighbors. We recently discovered that our neighbor across the street, Matt Aquiline was not only a musician but also a songwriter. I have always been fascinated by song writers. As a novelist I have enough problems just writing words let alone music to go with the words. To me music is a separate language and writing a song is like writing a poem in two different languages at the same time! We found out that he was performing at The Hard Rock Pittsburgh last night with his longtime singing partner Belen Pifel. It was a wonderful concert. His songs are filled with wit and passion and the harmonies were terrific. I have posted a couple of snaps from the show.

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Belen Pifel  and Matt Aquiline

Belen Pifel and Matt Aquiline

At The Hard Rock

At The Hard Rock

Matt and Company

Matt and Company