A Jeff Buckley Adulation May 15th - Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh’s finest — and some notable out-of-towners — offer “An Adulation”
By Aaron Jentzen
With All-Stars-only musical tributes, it can seem like only those in an exclusive club are allowed to demonstrate their appreciation. And with local-band tributes, held in smoky rock bars all over, passion for the music doesn’t always translate into polished performances. Pittsburgh’s “Jeff Buckley: An Adulation” struck a fine, democratic balance between the two, with both Pittsburgh-based musicians (myself included) and out-of-town special guests, allowing the event to serve as both tribute to Jeff as a person and musician, and to his music’s range of influence.
The concert took place Sat., May 15 at the Rex Theater, a former movie theater converted to a capacious music venue, in Pittsburgh’s South Side. The night before the concert, Mary Guibert, Alison Raykovich of Jeff Buckley Music, organizers and many of the musicians involved met for gathering that set a tone of both reflection and camaraderie for the night of the show.
The night began with introductions by Master of Ceremonies Jason Kirin and organizers Brad Hlavach and Amy Staggs, followed by some moving words from Mary Guibert. The music then began with the simple solo acoustic guitar and vocal of Mikey Yurick (“I’m Calling You”) and built throughout the evening until the performances by Tommy Brunett (of Modern English) and his band, and David J (of Bauhaus, Love & Rockets) with Damien Youth.
Some of the night’s many fine performances hewed to Jeff’s originals, while others took the songs into new musical territory. Perhaps the most extreme was the spoken-word piece delivered by Jason Kirin, a celebration of Jeff’s life and music that included references and snatches of his lyrics and titles, which backing ensemble “The Abraxian Harmony” incorporated and stitched together.
The night ended on a darker note, with David J.’s eerie psychodramatic eulogy, just before a final all-out version of “I Shall Be Released.”
Or rather, that was the planned ending: An enthusiastic young guy wearing a Jeff Buckley T-shirt and his girlfriend had been hanging around since the second doors opened, and he somehow ended up onstage with an acoustic guitar, offering his own, spontaneous tribute as the audience dispersed into the night. Which is perhaps just as it should be.
Mikey Yurick “I’m Calling You”
Aaron Jentzen with Brian Sproul “Nightmares By The Sea,” “The Sky is a Landfill”
Bob Melvin with Mike Gaydos “Opened Once,” “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over,” “Dream Brother”
Sarah Siplak “Hallelujah”
Scotts Roger “Lilac Wine”
Brett Staggs with Reid Wellock “Be Your Husband,” “Kick Out the Jams”
Jason Kirin and the Abraxian Harmony
Ben Hardt “Last Goodbye,” “Everybody Here Wants You”
Justin Andrew and Jim Doutrich “Morning Theft,” “I Woke Up In A Strange Place,” “So Real”
Tommy Brunett “Yard of Blond Girls”
David J with Damien Youth “New Year’s Prayer,” “Eulogy,” “I Shall Be Released”
Evening Finale "I Shall Be Released" Group Performance including David J and Jason Kirin, joined onstage with Mary Guibert !
Jason Kirin Reading