The band performing on a street

7 Stellar Bands From Pittsburgh; The 90s Magic!

Jul 19, 2021Surya Gopal

Pittsburgh had always made its trademark in the American history of pop culture. While the industrial boom had brought in a lot of work cultures and ethnicities, the artistic roots of the Steel City also kept evolving with fusions and renditions. The brilliant minds of legends like Andy Warhol have painted the city walls with hues of rich culture, proud yinzers, and appealing attractions.

As you surf through the profound history of the ‘City of Bridges’, the joy cannot be withheld about the surge in music during the 90s. And, the gazillion of rock, punk, jazz and ‘what-not’ bands to enthrall the hearts and souls of music lovers; Oh, what an era! Pittsburgh could literally go boasting about the talented musicians and the epic locations in Downtown or Strip District that became venues to whimsical music retreats.

Live music showPhoto by Glenn van de Wiel on Unsplash

With all such magic and vibrance in store for us, why not curate a small tribute to the multi-talented bands and curious music minds who dazzled the music scenes of Pittsburgh? So, here’s a list of the top 7 bands from the 90s, all hailing from Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods!

1. Rusted Root

The first one up the list is this uber-cool rock band from the neighborhood of South Shore - Rusted Roots. Kickstarting its journey as a performing house band, Rusted Roots went on full swing with the release of the album, When I Woke. Thanks to its founding musicians Michael Glabicki, Patrick Norman, and Liz Berlin; else we would never get hands on the all-time classic of “Send Me On My Way”.

Rusted Roots arose in 1990, tweaking powerful percussion strikes with other fusion styles of rock and acoustic covers. It’s been one of the best bands from the land of Pittsburgh with earthy songs set in with the backdrop of musical spirituality and diverse ethnic rhythms. All the more, they hit their lyrics addressing environmental and social issues to their fanbase so boldly.

Rock concertPhoto by Rahul Kukreja on Unsplash

2. New Invisible Joy

Have you been a fan of the sassy rocks in Pale Blue Day? Then, you would probably devote your music tastes to this popular band from 1997, New Invisible Joy. Started as a 4-members group, it created a vibe around with their outright costumes and squeaking notes. Their bold and creative albums were unique collections of melody and art altogether. No wonder to stare upon when they bagged the ‘Best of the Songwriters Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase’ award from New York City in 2004!

3. Don Caballero

Can an interesting comedy show turn you on to set up an amazing band in Pittsburgh? Well, the trio behind Don Cabarello or better known as ‘The Don’ did make such a history. The riding minds of Damon Che, Mike Banfield, and Pat Morris brought out the fortune of this American instrumental band. 

The fav songs from albums like What Burns Never Returns are etched forever in the hearts of its followers. Though it was certainly a heartbreak to witness the gang splitting up later in 2001, Che managed to put up to the record labels until the band was fully suspended in 2009.

Damon Che at drumsPhoto from Tumgir

4. Modey Lemon

When punk blues met garage rock, Modey Lemon created a new wave of rock rhythms for Pittsburgh and the world. In the early days of its formation, the duo of Philander Boyd and Paul Quattrone electrified the night scenes of Strip District only. But, soon enough, the band rose to full power with speedy drums, ripping guitar, and moonstruck vocals. Of the very many masterpieces, Thunder & Lightning still rings around the tunes of most of its admirers.

5. Boilermaker Jazz Band

While electric rock was loved by one and all, jazz music also streamed through the culture of Pittsburgh. And, Boilermaker Jazz and Swing Band threw in amusing renditions to the jazz tunes. Paul Cosentino with his clarinet and leadership drove the band to light up the traditional fashions of dance, ballad, and swing.

The classy styles of the band are so immersive that you may feel the chills of a soiree performance. The band started its journey in 1998 from the premises of the very famous Carnegie Mellon University. The fresh and energy-bound rhythms of Boilermaker Jazz Band would indeed pull your feet for a tap and a move!

6. The Del-Vikings

If jazz and blues are your favorite music genres, then you would have never missed out on the beats and vocal harmony of doo-wop. The Del-Vikings have the killer muses to mesmerize you with their “dom, dom-dee-doobie, dom”. The 2 all-time classics “Come Go with Me” and “Whispering Bells” still lingering around popular movies like ‘Stand By Me’ were the remarkable contributions by them.

The Del-VikingsPhoto from Getty Images

The band was born from the minds of 5 Air Force men - Clarence Quick, Corinthian "Krips" Johnson, Chuck Jackson, Donald Backus, and David Lerchey in the role. ‘The Dells’ originally did their first performance in 1955 at Pittsburgh Air Force Base Camp. On the go, they even motivated a lot of youngsters into doo-wop music, keeping aside all internal conflicts that held them down during the journey to fame.

7. River City Brass Band

This iconic brass band is much more promising than its role as an ensemble. It has widened up the musical spectrum in America with a modified touch on the British-styled brass band. Inaugurated in 1981, the Carnegie Music Hall stage witnessed the rise of a legendary band since their first-ever performance. Their brilliant and synchronized musical renditions are a heart-warming treat for you if you had a rough day. 

The band moved ahead from being just an entertaining ensemble towards encouraging students in professional music at Duquesne University. The youth platform offers challenging and thrilling opportunities to explore the wide world of brass orchestrations. The symphony in their live shows still keeps affirming their classic signature style, alluring the audience!

A brass band performance

Photo from River City Brass

Enjoy The Surreal Music From Pittsburgh

Similar to being a hard-core sports fan in Pittsburgh, performing arts also has sought its place in the hearts of yinzers. The epic albums of bands such as Grand Buffet, Creation Is Crucifixion, The Skyliners, East Winds Symphonic Band, and Anti-Flag are sure to set your love for classy music on fire. Not just the 90s, but all generations have brought out revolutions in the cross-genre renditions. So, discover more such acclaimed music labels and their iconic beats from Pittsburgh for a satisfying music day!

Make another day of fond memories at Pittsburgh, grabbing the most trendy collections from Yinzershop!

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