Alesana with The Color Morale 6/26 Mr. Small’s Pittsburgh PA
If you’ve ever been to a show at Mr. Small’s in Millvale, PA you know how tricky it can be to get there. Millvale isn’t on any public transportation routes that run late enough to be of any use after the show is over. Parking isn’t awesome. There aren’t many good options for places to grab a bite after the show… It’s a shame because Mr. Small’s is such a cool venue, that the location isn’t more accommodating. Recently a few of my friends have moved to Millvale and sang praises of what a cool neighborhood it can be, so when the time came for DudePac and I to move we thought “hey, the rent is cheap, our friends are cool people and wouldn’t steer us wrong, plus we’ll be down the street from Mr. Small’s! Why not?” . I am here to tell you that moving to Millvale was a fantastic decision. The first thing we did when we got the keys to our new place was check out what shows were coming to Mr. Small’s so we could immediately partake in the glory of living within walking distance.
Our first show as proud Millvallians was Color Morale and Alesana, and it was a great show. Color Morale singer Garret Rapp did a great job engaging with the audience and put a lot of effort into making connections. Some of the personal stories dragged on a bit long and took us out of the experience, but it was still neat to hear his tales of being a broke musician with no more than a few dollars in his pocket and how far the band has come since then. On a personal level, I think it's weird when heavier bands come with elaborate set design and was a little distracted by all the signage they had for their new album Know Hope bopping around the stage. Giant pillar signs just seem unnecessary! The band managed to not thrash around onstage and hit any of their paraphanelia and still put on a great, spirited performance.
Alesana was, in a word, awesome to see live. Being a huge fan of diverse heavy bands like Between the Buried and Me, I love it when a band can actually perform the full diversity of their sound live and don’t rely on a confrontational wall of noise. The tempo changes and contrast between heavy verses and melodic bridges came alive in the acoustics of Mr. Small’s. Considering that Alesana has been around almost a decade I was surprised by how young the audience at Small’s was. The venue is split in half from front to back with a usually packed back bar area, but for Alesana I was litereally one of five over 21ers taking advantage of the “no splash zone” out of reach of moshers.
If you do ever find yourself arriving early for a show at Mr. Small’s, I highly recommend checking out Jean Marc’s French bakery for the most mind blowing croissants you’ll find outside of France. Sideline’s bar has an incredible craft beer list and is definitely worth a stop, too. Millvale is a great little neighborhood and I’m stoked to see more shows!